The other day, Athanasius was confused about astronomy. He understands that the moon orbits the earth and that the earth revolves around the sun, but he was confused about the moon. More specifically, he couldn’t grasp how the moon’s face was fully illuminated during a “full moon” and yet it was night, from our position on earth. In a way, it is about perspective and what we observe from our immediate location. After all, few of us will ever be able to see the earth from outer space, be it from the I.S.S., the moon, or possibly even from Mars one day. Correspondingly, there will be things that we may never understand because of life experience, certain factors about how God made us, or even our age and maturity. Conversely, there are many things in life that we can still draw analogies from. And when we do, we share with others what we know and understand so that others might learn from our experiences without having to stumble and fall. (And there are also the times when the stumbling and falling is necessary to learn for the individual’s own growth.)
What we cannot ignore as believers, is our own individual growth in the understanding of the LORD and to know Him on a deep and personal level. From there, we guide others along this journey. Sometimes it is by direct education, like a teacher to a student in a classroom setting. At other times, it might be more indirect, by simply conversing and giving advice. Both can be discipleship. This is Paul teaching and guiding Timothy; someone older bestowing wisdom to someone younger.
What we cannot forget, is the infinitely more valuable worth of the spiritual over the academic. In the end, if Athanasius did not understand how a full moon occurred, I would be sad if he didn’t understand this concept. But this would not change his relationship with the LORD. And it is my responsibility as a father, to instruct him in the importance of following God’s words and ways because he is the immediate harvest field for me, as a father to a son. Then, there is the harvest that we have as a church. And there is no one “right way” to instruct either. But we have many opportunities! We do have Sunday School, the Worship service, Fellowships, mission trips, and even special events such as Summer Retreat and camping trips. The upcoming CIA outdoor events are just one more way in which we are cultivating relationships and spiritual teaching. So let’s not forget to engage in spiritual conversations wherever we might be and with those we are with. And let us keep praying so that others may receive, keep the commands, and truly live. As Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Let’s go and harvest!