The Value of Learning (Ezra 8:15-36; 9-10:17)

So I summoned Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of learning… (Ezra 8:16)

Never stop learning.  Once you stop learning, you stop growing.  And once you stop growing, well the end is near.

What’s remarkable about the men Ezra chose is that they are designated as men of “learning.”  Other translations say they were men of “insight,” and the general definition of the Hebrew is a knowledge that is superior to that of just gathering raw data – it’s a matter of actually understanding what has been learned.

I’m thankful for the people in my life (my parents, my college professors, and others) who have challenged me in the direction of being a lifelong learner.  The goal isn’t to have knowledge merely for the sake of having knowledge but allowing knowledge to be a catalyst for growth.

I love what Bernard of Clairvaux once said:

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity.
There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity.
There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.

Lord, help me not to seek knowledge for the sake of being smart or for the sake of trying to impress others.  Let me, instead, seek knowledge in order to serve You and those whom You love.  In doing so, let me draw nearer to You.  Help me to be a life-long learner who is motivated by the desire to put the needs of others before my own.

About Seth

Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.

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