“I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain joined to me, and I to you, you will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me…When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to my Father. It shows that you are my disciples.”
John 15:5-8, NIRV
A couple of weeks ago, I got to share with my pre-teen students about how to continually keep learning. This is something that I have learned over the years, I always want to be a learner no matter what season I find myself in. I want to grow in wisdom and maturity, because God calls me to follow Him and not become satisfied by being stationary. I think we can all look back at past versions of ourselves and be thankful that we are not the same person. I know for me, I’m thankful I’m not still middle school Joshua, high school Joshua, or even early twenties Joshua (turning the bog 27 in October, what what!). When we look at our younger selves, we weren’t as mature as we are now, and we should never stop learning and growing.
Some days, we understand how much we have grown from who we once were, but have you ever been with someone who can’t let the past version of you go?
I met with someone who recently was upset about something I had done years back, and all I could do was apologize and share that I’m not the same person. Sometimes we have to do that, because we should never stop learning.
I shared in our pre-teen ministry a story about me and my dear Danielle’s experience in growing tomatoes.
This past Spring, we were excited to have a deck in our apartment to grow some plants, but not just pretty flowers, we wanted to grow our own food! We snagged some herbs, and a tomato plant, because we thought it would be fantastic to make our own salsa. Pretty great idea if I say so. We watered our plants each day, made sure the soil was good, but then I decided to turn to the internet to make sure I was doing the best for my plant.
Thankfully, a good old tomato only forum, TomatoVille, had me covered. A site dedicated to serious tomato farmers like myself, okay maybe these folks are growing a bit more than me, but still, I had a treasure trove of answers. I learned how to prune, what type of sun was best, all of the many facets I could think of. Then, our tomatoes began to turn red.
When we are connected to a source of truth, we flourish.
This website gave me what I needed to grow these plants effectively, which is a pretty good example for the power that God’s word plays in our lives. We must be in scripture each day in order to thrive in our lives. It’s daily attention, not a once in a while mindset. If you aren’t listening to God daily, you’ll miss out on the fulness of life.
The tomatoes got redder each day, and then it looked great to pick. I went out and plucked the biggest one, turned it around only to see that birds also know when tomatoes are fully ready. On the back of my beautiful tomato, we peck marks from birds. I went back to my forum and found out, you really should pick the tomatoes when they blush, because birds love the taste of those good tomatoes.
We aren’t as smart as we think we are, that’s okay, just keep learning and growing.
I thought I was hot stuff, but it was a bummer to see that I wasn’t as smart as I thought. Humility comes from understanding that you don’t know it all, and that’s the best place to be in order to grow. I have met very arrogant people as I’m sure you have as well, folks who think they have it all figured out and could never even think advice is necessary for them. Most of the time, those people trip up or burn out because they never stop to learn. It’s not a weakness to grow, it means you are headed in the right direction God has for you.
I hope my story today has helped you understand the importance of wisdom. More specifically, being able to never stop learning and growing in that wisdom. True wisdom is found in scripture, it’s found in a daily connection to the vine. We need to be humbling ourselves daily, understanding that we don’t know everything, and continue to learn. Connect in the truth and you’ll flourish. Be careful of pride and understand that each day is an opportunity to grow into a better version of yourself.
Be wise, remain in Christ and never stop learning.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__