"If you haven't learned to be a learner you don't deserve to be a teacher" I'll never forget these words spoken by Heidi Baker a few years ago while I was on the Iris base in Pemba. It was our down time and I had wandered into her teaching the Harvest School students. It was a message that captivated my heart and my attention as she talked about Jesus coming into the world as a child. The Creator of the universe became a baby. He had to be fed. He had to be given drink. He had to learn to talk, learn to walk, He was God, but He was dependent on man. He needed Mary and Joseph to raise Him, to teach Him, to provide for Him. It seems so absurd.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:5-9)
Human nature often seeks to "arrive" or to be established. We pursue after job titles, education degrees, relational agreements, etc. to find an identity that seems credible and esteemed. Of course I don't believe any of these things are inherently wrong at all, in fact I'd say they are super beneficial, but we see something in Jesus that spins perspective in a whirlwind.
He is the "I AM". He was it. He is the MAN. The One the only. The Way, Truth, and Life. He is the WORD. He is Savior, Redeemer, died for all mankind. In other words He had every right to "pull rank" as the leader, teacher, forerunner, pioneer, boss, head of all and yet, He did the opposite. He didn't seek to "prove" Himself, He wasn't modeling a ruler who dominated with control, He didn't ever say look at who I am, now serve me, bow down to me, rather He modeled a Kingdom of humility, honor, servanthood, and love. The One who is the Word, chose to study the Word. That probably wrecks my brain more than anything. He IS THE WORD and yet look at this scripture. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.(Luke 2:43) He was listening to them and asking them questions. The Word humbled Himself to the point of being a learner. Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35) He tells us clearly if you want to be first, you have to be a servant. He washed the feet of His disciples, He reclined with sinners, He modeled a life of servanthood!
This man/God Jesus came and flipped things upside down. He didn't prove His deity from the throne, He did it from the grave. He didn't gain followers through threatening, but through pursuing. He didn't teach until He had learned. He didn't come to earth as a 30 year old well established and versed man, He came as a baby completely dependent on others.
There's something to be said about learning from those we come to minister to. Jesus came as the first missionary and He chose to LEARN from the very people He came to save before He ever began to teach. As missionaries in America or abroad we should never come in with the attitude that we are there to teach, instruct, and bring all the answers. What if we actually modeled Jesus' approach and came as learners? What if we approached situations hungry to gain new perspective and insight. What if we didn't assume that we know it all? There are gifts inside each and every person. Years of wisdom, insight, perspective, and more. Go low. Go to the place of complete surrender and humility. Lay it all down to learn from the homeless man on the street, even the misbehaving teenager, the mamas and papas in the dirt of Africa, the primitives in the jungles of the amazon, the intellectuals of Europe... Go LOW... Get LOWER still. Lay down your need to "be" something or someone and come to them as a learner. No need to be "pastor", "evangelist", "Dr.", "ministry graduate", "prophet", so and so... Go in as Jessika, learn their names, hear their hearts, view people as people, be willing to draw the line in the sand for the sinner, to plead for compassion for the murderers "because they know not what they do". Lean into the heart of Jesus and learn from how He came, how He lived, how He died, and how He ascended.
Most of us want to be the powerful and miraculous Jesus at 30, but we never learned how to be the Jesus in a manger. Be Blessed, J. Tate
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