School's out for the summer for most by now. We're entering into that part of the year during which one huge task - the education of the next generation - is paused and taken off the table.
So, how have the kids you know changed over the last 9 months? Can you picture your kids, or the kids on your block, the way they were last summer? They may be, and probably are, taller and more physically developed, but what about their personality? Their eloquence and cause-effect understanding?
Education should change you. It should make you more than you were when you started. When we're kids we understand this because growth is expected. But adults? Adults engage in educational activities all the time. They read the paper, they watch the news. They go to bible classes, cooking classes. But do they think about changing through them?
Sometimes (and somehow more as we grow older) we approach educational opportunities as simply something we have to survive. Put in the time, get the grade, and walk away, as though a grading system is a permission system - get the right column to say A, B or even C and you can leave. When we treat education like that, learning becomes an inadvertent side-effect of survival.
Picture yourself last summer. What were you struggling with? What weren't you doing well? What was "killing you," as we say?
Have you spent the last school year surviving those things, or have you taken advantage of and sought out the educational opportunities placed before you? Are you the same person with the same struggles and the same understanding of the struggles or are you different? And if you are, how are you different?
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
she raises her voice in public squares;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:
"How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
If you had responded to my rebuke
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you."
"My son, preserve sound judgement and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;
they will be life for you,
and ornament to grace your neck.
Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;
when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared."
And maybe most importantly, if you are different, if learning more about God's world and his Word and his wisdom have changed you - how can you share that with others? Talk about changing the world.