Proverbs 13:18 – If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. (NLT)
I learned early in life to be teachable. My mother had taught me a few sewing skills at home, so when I began Home Economics classes in the ninth grade, I let the others know that I already knew how to sew. I strutted around in class with my superior knowledge while the other girls learned the basics. I closed my mind to everything the teacher said, because I already knew how.
A few weeks into the course, I observed that the others were doing a better job than I was, because they understood the basics. My skills were based on techniques that worked, but I found that with the basics, we could accomplish many different things. I soon swallowed my pride or conceitedness and allowed the teacher's words to reach me. Soon, I realized how little I knew and how much better her techniques were. My classmates also liked me a lot better.
That one lesson made a difference in my life. To be teachable, we have to have a spirit of meekness. That's not saying that the teacher is better than I am. It is saying that the teacher has knowledge that I don't have. Learning from the teacher may be as simple as learning the basics and then building on them. It may mean learning how to do a skill I already possess in a better way. We all possess knowledge that is unique to ourselves. Everyone grows when this knowledge is learned and shared without conceit or resentment.
Many people give their lives to learn knowledge that can be passed on to others. Christians owe these professional teachers thanks for their efforts, whether they are specifically teachers of biblical truth or scholars in some particular field of knowledge. Christians also owe them the respect of listening. We never know when God may use a given individual's insight to change lives.
Prayer: Lord, make us meek and humble enough to learn from others, but strong enough to discern right from wrong. May Your Holy Spirit guide us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.