The next thing we usually want to do is to kill it. We don’t mean to, but when there is a life-giving exchange, we try to capture it, document it, formalize it, systematize it and reproduce it. In that process, we suck the life right out of it.
We mean well in this as we want others to experience the goodness that we have found and now want to share. We consider the sharing through our western lens, trained in Greek/Roman methods of education. They taught us, over the centuries, to gather, order and transfer information so that others would “know” it, too.
When Jesus talked about following Him and He would teach a “yoke” that is easy and light (discussed here in my last post), he wasn’t doing anything with the systematic reproduction of information. He was inviting them into the relational reproduction of Him.
Jesus had an easy burden and light yoke because He wasn’t try to cram all the information into the heads of a potential disciple. He was living life with them. Was He teaching? Absolutely, but not with a curriculum and not in a classroom as we think about it.
The Hebraic form of education (and Jesus was a Jew) was based in experience and apprenticeship, not knowledge transfer. To “know” Him was relational, not cerebral. The invitation was one that He knew would take time to manifest as maturity. Even when He left, the 11 guys He left behind weren’t ready, but they were ready enough. There was enough of Him that had gotten on and in them for the Kingdom to multiply.
He sent them to make disciples of their own, sharing themselves to reproduce the Him that was in them. He recognized that they were flawed and knew that the presence of Him would overcome the shortcomings of them.
When I was in law school, I learned very little in class; it was mostly self-study with class as a framework for application. A doctor friend of mine says the same thing about medical school. Most of what we learn, we seek out and study for ourselves. We tend to retain that much more than we retain the points of a sermon.
When life gets on us and in us, however, we remember. When we encounter Him, we don’t forget it. From that encounter we are never the same and we’ll pursue Him and seek out morsels of treasure that now have a relational context and place to rest within us. It’s no longer information into a void, but building on a relationship.