Locations & Times

Keep Learning

by Jeff Lucas on February 12, 2024

I’ve never been that practical, which is odd because I was raised in a family of maintenance engineers. My father, brother, uncle, and cousin all worked for the same elevator company, repairing and maintaining escalators and lifts. Happily, I didn’t follow in their footsteps, a wise choice for me and the world. If I’d signed up, thousands would still be stranded between the fourth and fifth floors.

Our children learned early that daddy was not the one to call when something needed to be repaired, assembled, or renewed. I wish I could report that our children would giggle with delight as their father skillfully tacked some routine DIY jobs. In reality, fear would grip our household and a time of intercessory screaming would begin as I put up shelves (temporarily, they didn’t stay up), tackled that blocked toilet (you don’t want to know), or, horror of horrors, attempted to put some furniture together, armed and dangerous with a screwdriver and a set of instructions unhelpfully printed in Swedish. After many hours of huffing and puffing, the item of furniture would finally be built, with only a minor piece missing, like a door. 

And so somewhere during my journey, I decided: DIY was just beyond me. I was not destined to do it myself, and so I spent decades paying others to do stuff for me. Occasionally, I would feel a flush of envy when a friend told me that he’d dismantled and reassembled a car transmission in eleven minutes, but generally, I concluded: that’s not my gift. I’d stay in my lane and not bother to try and learn new skills. Until recently.

Admittedly, I’ve been helped by the changing world that now provides us all with YouTube videos, generally easy-to-understand online instructions enabling us to change a plug, fix a leak, or build a nuclear reactor.

But faced with a bevy of odd jobs that needed to be done, I decided to dust off my toolbox, watch a few videos, and do my best. After decades of insisting that I couldn’t fix a thing, a few minor accomplishments are now under my belt.

My DIY development was not without its challenges. When a toilet cistern refused to stop filling itself, I encouraged my wife, Kay, with the news that I could sort it in a jiffy. She learned that, in my book at least, a jiffy is actually an undetermined measurement of time. Six hours later, two visits to the local hardware store, a lot of thoroughly un-Christian muttering, and a minor flood in the room that sits below the offending cistern, all was remedied. With a little effort mingled with some determination, I’ve discovered that while old dogs don’t generally respond well to those who try to teach them new tricks, old guys can keep on learning.

As apprentices of Jesus, we’re all called to be lifelong learners who never graduate until the last breath, and even then are translated into what will surely be an eternity of delightful discovery. But decades of pastoral ministry have shown me that the greatest growth in Christians is usually in their very earliest years of faith. Thrilled by the good news and hungry to mature in faith, new converts often experience an amazing growth spurt. But then faith can descend into being a dull habit as the years or decades pass. Having spent a lot of time around fellow Christian leaders, I’ve observed that some of us stopped actively seeking and learning a while ago, and now we’re living on the fumes of earlier discoveries. 

So let’s consider if we’ve settled down, and ask the amazing Jesus to enroll us again in His kingdom academy.

And if you’re cursed with a flooding toilet cistern, then fear not, because I’m your man. I’ll be there in a jiffy.

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