A Simple Rule Of Life: Learn Constantly

I recently mentioned a simple 5-part Rule of Life in a sermon (which you can watch here). Several people emailed me asking for the list again, so I thought I’d offer a short blog series, sharing how each helped to change my life. You can find the past installments linked below.  

1) Pray daily – click here
2) Worship weekly – click here
3) Learn constantly
4) Serve joyfully
5) Give generously

LEARN CONSTANTLY – Of the five practices, learning constantly was the easiest for me because by my thirties, I was genuinely curious about God and exploring the meaning of life. I had enough early success in my career as a lawyer that I was able to settle some large cases and achieve many of my personal and professional goals — not to mention buy the fancy sports car, the sailboat, the house with an ocean view and all that goes with it! It was all great at first but it didn’t take long for the hedonic treadmill to kick in and within a few years, I realized that the lasting happiness and fulfillment I was after, was going to have to come from somewhere else. 

So, when I first began attending church, I came looking for answers to the big questions of life: Who is God? What is my purpose? How can I find a lasting, spiritual fulfillment? And so on. I wanted to know more about God (beyond the judgmental Santa Claus-like figure that popular culture portrays) and why would a God who is supposed to love us, also be willing to condemn us to hell? I was also very curious about the Episcopal Church and how could a church so steeped in tradition and orthodoxy, be so welcoming and inclusive?

And so I came to church to learn. I was most interested in the sermons and after church, would spend hours talking about them, their meaning, and implications. I signed up for any class that was offered, like a sponge looking to absorb any spiritual wisdom I could get my hands on. Some of it I understood, some I didn’t. Some of it I agreed with, some of it I struggled with. I particularly liked the small group classes I tried out (and still do), because for five or six weeks, we would become a little learning community; sharing our different experiences, sharing our opinions and differing perspectives.  Learning from one another for sure, but also learning to care for one another along the way.  

Over time, I began to realize that while I had come to church partially in search of answers, I discovered that the journey of faith, is just that — a journey. It’s not about the destination, so much as it is about who are becoming along the way, and the people walking alongside. I began to realize that I wasn’t necessarily finding answers so much as I was starting to ask different questions. Learning had become less about education, and more about formation, that is, I was being changed and shaped into something new.  (Which by the way is why we call it “Christian Formation” rather than “Education.”)  The way I saw myself and the world were being re-shaped, as was my sense of purpose. And it still is. Learning constantly became for me a life-long journey of growing in faith, growing in my relationship with God, growing in my capacity to love and forgive my friends, my enemies, even myself — and growing in my trust in the way of Jesus.  Every class I take, every book I read, every passage of Scripture I study, carries with it, when I am open to it, an invitation to grow closer to God.   Do you have that expectation?  If not, try to open yourself up to being changed in some way next time you are in a class, or listening to a sermon or reading a book.  Try to avoid being a passive recipient of more information or more knowledge, and to instead be actively listening with your heart for the thing God needs you to hear, do or be.  You will be amazed how the Spirit will speak when you have ears to hear.  And in time, you will see that like our baptism, our formation into a follower of Jesus is never complete, and so we should all be ready to  learn constantly.

Here at Christ Church Cranbrook we have so many ways to learn and grow in your faith.  Check out our current classes here, and our past classes here.  If you’d like to explore more options or need help on where to get started, drop me an email anytime:  charris@christchurchcranbrook.org

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the blog summary of your sermon. I find it extremely moving and insightful with regard to studying individual journeys in the pursuit of our lives with Christ and the church.
    Thank you for taking the time to summarize. I will read and reread this fine work.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *