Pearls of Wisdom: The Love of Learning

More than a grade, or title, or worldly notion of success is a very God-centric notion of learning. Our very DNA is divinely wired to learn, to explore, to discover because we were made to create. Perhaps the greatest minds are great because they have mastered the hardest lesson: learning to love learning.

 You must know the old story of the student who came to the master.

The Student
A talented young warrior goes to the school of a famous teacher, intent on being accepted as a student. The teacher invites the student in, and as they sit waiting for a pot of tea to steep, the student begins to tell the teacher about his enemies, about the battles he has won, those he has lost, and the times victory has been unfairly snatched from his grasp.  He talks about the techniques he has mastered, his own students, and most importantly, what he expects this teacher to teach him.


The teacher smiles politely. He watches. He listens. He waits. Finally the tea is ready and the teacher begins to pour a cup for his visitor. The small cup fills to the brim and the teacher, still looking at his guest, keeps pouring. The cup overflows and tea begins to spill across the table, and down, onto the student’s lap. After an uncomfortable moment, the student finally jumps up and yells, “Stop, Master! Stop! The cup is full. You can’t put any more in.”  The master, still smiling and still looking at the student, slowly stopped pouring the tea, and says, “Yes. The cup is just like you. Already full. I will not be able to teach you anything until you come to me with a cup that is empty.”

Empty cups can be perpetually refilled, if we are willing to be poured out. Be less concerned about being full and more concerned about using what you have learned to impact the world around you. Then get filled again to pour out. And repeat.

Throughout life we are all are going to be around a lot of great minds. Try not to rank yourself, because in ranking yourself higher or lower, everyone is diminished. Believe it or not, from a heavenly perspective, life is not a competition. Instead, it’s an unveiling of who God is in you. It sounds churchy, even surreal. But it’s a world system that manifests dog-eat-dog behavior. God’s system is that we all shine like stars.

Endeavor then to love the learning process. Enjoy it. Drink it in, Soak it up. Wring out every drop. Every season of life—college, marriage, work, children, empty-nesting (sniff), aging— is a season of great deposits, opportunities to learn and grow. Fasten your seat belt and enjoy it. And don’t despair the hard lessons or failed tests.

Allow and expect God to plant new seeds, harvest old seeds, and even doing a little weeding. God works through it all.

We all feel that tinge of fear about how we will perform, but rest in being a humble, hungry student. No teacher despises a willing learner.

Be confident in your incredible giftings, even the budding or dormant gifts.  In areas where you have not had as much time to explore or practice, you need to give yourself time to mature. Jesus spoke often about being his apprentice. So watch and learn.

What I love about learning is the more He gives to us, the more we can give away.

The Lord says that He will make springs of living water well up within us (John 4:14) and then He says that wherever the river flows there will be life. (Ezekiel 47) How incredible is this gift from God.

Just enjoy playing in the water. Enjoyment will make all the difference in this experience of a life of learning.

(This is the fifth article from a series of letters written to my daughter as she left for college. These “pearls of wisdom” are aptly named since pearls are something very beautiful created out of great anguish and agitation. )

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