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Why We Learn

The School of Athens by Raphael, 1509-1511, The Vatican

This is my favorite time of year. The weather will be cooling down soon (hopefully :). Sarah and I celebrate our anniversary next month. My birthday is shortly thereafter. The leaves will be turning. But it’s not just all those things. School is back in session. And for some reason, I have always loved school (call me a glutton for punishment). Our three children will all be returning to school this week or next – and we are so excited for them to see their friends and get in the routine of school again.

But this causes me to ponder a bigger question: Why do we learn in the first place? Why do we all value education so highly?

I have a theory, and it’s nothing new. Here me out…

What is a society’s greatest resource or asset?

It’s not oil, gold, wheat, finance, technology, or tourism.

The answer is “people.” We are our own greatest assets – both individually and collectively. Biblically, we are the part of creation made in God’s own image. We are collectively God’s masterpiece (Eph 2:10). We are his piece de resistance, his magnum opus.

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27 NLT

Therefore, though finite beings (in terms of our physical earthly bodies), we are of infinite value. And we must steward this human resource (ourselves) to whatever extent we can. The greatest things you can invest in are not Roth IRAs (those are great too), but yourself and others. When we are all learning, forming, and developing, we are constantly growing into the people God has called us to be so that we can better serve one another in this world and bring glory to Him. In other words, when we are all learning, the world is a better place.

Traditional schooling is just one form of education. When I say “education,” I mean lifelong learning, whether formally or informally. I also mean wholistic formation, not just head knowledge. We need to continually grow in wisdom, virtue, and love. This might be the time of year when traditional schools are back in session, but education and learning is much bigger than “back to school.”

May this time of year be a reminder to us all that we all need to grow and continually learn no matter what stage of life we’re in. Though it cost all we have, may we get wisdom. 

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.”

Proverbs 4:7-8, NIV

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