Two weeks ago, I was sitting on the second to the last row of a little girls’ class, helping with childcare during Spiritual Leadership Conference. We had already played games and spent some time on the playground, and now we were listening to a lesson.
(As a side note, one of the great blessings to me of this conference was hearing the lesson taught from our newly published Children’s Curriculum. I had briefly previewed this curriculum, but it was a joy to hear it taught and see firsthand how well the story held the children’s attention and how well they related to the application.)
Minutes into the lesson, a fourth grade girl next to me became restless and distracted. As she started talking to the others around her, I motioned for her to listen to the teacher. But with the wise nod of a fourth grader, she assured me, “I already know this story.”
I couldn’t help but smile to myself at her self-assurance, but I encouraged her to listen anyway as she might learn something new. She did settle down and began to pay attention.
The story was about forgiveness, and through the application, the teacher listed several scenarios in which children may have need to forgive. To encourage participation, she asked the girls to raise their hands if they had ever experienced these.
I watched my young seatmate, and noticed that she related to many of these scenarios and raised her hand often. It was sweet to watch her begin to apply this story in ways she had never thought of before.
As she did, I began applying the lesson she had unknowingly taught me. I remembered her earlier statement, “I already know this story” and noted that she was learning more from it than she already knew.
I wondered how many times I have similarly dismissed an opportunity to learn or grow because I assumed I already knew all I needed on a particular subject.
As we mature, we realize that growth is a process—not an achievement. A fourth grader may hear something once and think she’s reached the summit of knowledge. But a few more years of experience teach us otherwise.
God’s Word is limitless. Although I’ve read it many times through, I still learn current ways to apply old truths on a regular basis—if I read with the intent to learn. Although I’ve sat in thousands of church services, I still learn fresh applications weekly—if I listen with the intent to learn.
I know enough to know that I don’t know it all! My young friend of two weeks ago reminded me to approach familiar truths with attentiveness and a heart to learn.
Yes, I may already know this story, but I don’t want to dismiss potential growth by assuming I already know. I’d rather learn something new.