|"Bill, teach us about leadership." SIAS University, China|
Early on in school most of us learned, "In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue."
Now, let's say that we memorized every map those ancient mariners sketched on their epic journey. Suppose we read every word they scrawled in their logs and diaries. Imagine that we knew every detail of their journey--right down to the clothing they wore, navigational instruments they used, foods they ate, and the rum they drank. And, let's say we could close the gap in time, bring them and us together, and take a test based on our knowledge of those details. You know what? Based on that kind of testing we might actually outscore them!
But none of us were on those rickety, ancient ships for months at a time, sailing hundreds of nautical miles in uncharted waters. None of us survived the terror of typhoons as our wooden vessel pitched and groaned and threatened to be swallowed by the sea. Nor, in the midst of all that, try to trace out a route from an old world to a new world--a route that only existed theoretically! Would any of us be so deluded as to believe our test scores proved that we knew more about that perilous journey than those explorers who actually experienced it?
I would hope not, because between us and them there is an ocean of difference in the facts. They lived them!
Could it be that one of the great banes of Christianity is that we have become spiritual theorists and Bible information experts? Could it be that many of us have never really experienced the adventure of living out what we have learned--and learning as we live it out?
Look again at what the Psalmist said. He, too, had a hunger to keep learning, but as important as it was to learn, he committed to walking in the truth he learned. For him, the passing grade came when the lessons learned were the lessons lived.