Thursday, August 25, 2011

Qualities of a Learner 4

This is the final post in a series on qualities of a learner. In part 1 we looked at being caring and principled. Part 2 was about being open minded, a thinker, and knowledgeable. In part 3 we looked at being reflective, inquiring, and a communicator. This time I want to look at the qualities of balance and risk taking.

A learner of Jesus should be balanced. This is another dirty word for some. Some see balance as being wishy-washy and not passionate about anything. That is not how I see balanced. Someone who is a follower of Jesus is going to be seen as unbalanced by many in the world. The source of our passion in life is Jesus, and our wholehearted devotion is to him alone. I see balanced as being able to experience all of the myriad ways God blesses us, and the ways we worship him. It can be easy for someone who is an active, serving individual to neglect and even disparage contemplation and study. It can also be easy for a contemplative to neglect action. There are many ways for us to relate to the Father and to draw near to him, and we should be open to those at different times in our lives.

Lastly, the learner of Jesus must be a risk taker. Considering what Jesus said about what would happen to his followers, we should realize that simply throwing in our lot with Christ is taking a risk. We risk when we tell those around us that we owe allegiance to the King of Kings, and no other. We risk when we don't go along with the powers that be. Those actually may be somewhat easy for some. What many of us find hard is the risk taken in loving others and laying down our lives for them. That is risky because relationships can be messy. If I am not willing to risk rejection and pain, then my relationships will never be as deep as my Master desires them to be. It is risky for me to go to a brother or sister and ask their forgiveness, because they may refuse. It is also risky to go to another and tell them how they have sinned against me. They may well turn that around and hurt me further. My responsibility is not to change them or win them over. My responsibility is to trust my Abba to take care of me and throw myself on his love and grace as I seek to be reconciled. It may not turn out the way I want, but the One who created the universe can redeem any situation, no matter how hard.

Jesus, help those of us who are your followers to be caring, thoughtful, open minded communicators who are principled in our lives. Help us to not fear to take risks, to be knowledgeable inquirers who take time to reflect on you. In all this give us the balance that comes from living in your presence.

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