A Teachable Spirit, Jn 8:28

In Jn 7:15-16, when the Jews questioned Jesus’s knowledge by asking, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me”.  Then in Jn 8:28, Jesus explained how he learned his doctrine.  He said, “as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things”.  Though he was God manifest in the flesh, 1 Tim 3:16, and though he was equal with God, Phil 2:6, Jesus was taught by his Father.  Jesus had a teachable spirit.  And it is this same teachable spirit that we need in order to learn.

When I spoke with Keith Stensaas in Uganda several years ago, I asked him why 20 missionary families had come to Uganda and had left the field in the two decades since he had been there.  He replied that they had three problems.  First, they couldn’t laugh at themselves.  Second, they weren’t teachable; they thought they already had missions in Uganda figured out.  Third, they stayed “rooted” in the USA; so, they couldn’t adjust to the culture.

Tonight, we want to discuss the second reason the families left the field.  They weren’t teachable.  The missionaries didn’t have a teachable spirit.  There were things that they didn’t know that they needed to know and that they needed to learn from somebody who knew.  Likewise, there are things that you don’t know that you need to know and that you are going to have to learn from somebody who knows.  Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from someone who knew more than I did.

You should realize that you don’t know as much as you think you do.  And you should recognize and appreciate the people in your life who know more than you do.  It seems that people are more interested in impressing people with their limited knowledge than they are in learning from others who know more than they know.  To do this you must have a teachable spirit and be willing to learn from someone else.

When you have a teachable spirit:

You learn by inquiring, Dan 1:20.  When you need to learn something that you don’t know, go ask somebody who does know.  In Babylon, the king knew to inquire of men who had more wisdom than he did.  

You learn by searching, Acts 17:11.  In Jn 5:39, Jesus told the Jews who didn’t believe him to “Search the scriptures”.  Paul told Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…”, 2 Tim 2:15.

You learn by listening, Prov 22:17.  Instead of daydreaming, you ought to concentrate on what’s being taught.  Instead of shooting off your mouth, you ought to open your ears, Jas 1:19.  

You learn by observing, Prov 23:26.  In order to comply with his father’s ways, his son had to first observe them with his eyes.  You can learn a great deal by just keeping your eyes open in the presence of wise people.  Watch what they do and how they do it.

Conclusion: I have learned and continue to learn a great deal by these four means.  I never want to get to the place where I can no longer learn from others.  Robert E Lee said, “The education of a man is never complete until he dies”.  Fo that to be true he must continue to be teachable.