Links Daily Devotional

Links Players president Jeffrey Cranford analyzes one of the more confusing selections of Jesus' words to show why we must know him well to love him well.

Know, Love, Serve – Part 2: Knowing God

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9, NIV)

A number of years ago I was privileged to meet and take a couple of golf lessons from the legendary instructor Jim Flick. He wanted to know about my background, and when I told him I had been a tennis pro (of the teaching variety), he began calling me “Coach.” Years later I found out he called everyone Coach, but it was still fun.

For a few minutes we shared stories of what it was like to teach a sport, and Mr. Flick told me of a man who had once come to him for a cure to some golf malady. He said the fellow almost immediately issued a challenge by saying he had been to several of the best teachers in the country and none of them were successful in correcting his problem, so “I came here to see if you could teach.”

Mr. Flick’s response was a bit impulsive, he allowed, but he said it anyway: “In forty years of doing this, it’s been proven that I can teach. The real question is, can you learn?” And just that quickly Jim had an open slot in his day as he watched his erstwhile prospect storm off the range, leaving his clubs behind.

The question is appropriate for us all, not just in golf but in our lives as followers of Jesus. It’s been proven that Jesus can teach. Even people who don’t accept the divinity of Jesus generally think of him as a great teacher. Paul, who exhorted others to follow him as he followed Jesus, was a great teacher. But can we learn?

As a professional teacher I wrestled with the barriers to learning both for myself and my students. One of the most stubborn—and most common—impediments to learning is the belief that we already know the subject. Teenagers and dogmatic Christians are notorious for having all the answers. When I was a Bible college student I knew many more answers than I know now, and all that knowledge made learning difficult.

Not paying attention to the teacher is another big barrier to learning. Imagine having unlimited full-time access to Butch Harmon or Stan Utley or Dr. David Cook but never taking advantage of it. Silly, right? How about having unlimited full-time access to Jesus and not taking advantage of that? How about having the writings of Paul and Peter and John and not paying attention to those?

I suppose every person reading this would like to improve at golf and spends time listening to great teachers in order to learn more. I know I do. Would that we all had as much desire to improve as followers of Jesus and spent as much time there. The question is not whether Jesus can teach me. The real question is, can I learn?

Lewis Greer
February 24, 2014
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