I recently attended the circus with my wife, daughter, and two grandchildren. I love the circus and enjoy watching the many displays of courage, talent, and skill. In most of the "acts" it was human talent that was on display, but several of them featured the skills of various animals. As I watched a giant elephant sit "gracefully" on a stool with a young lady riding on it's back, I wandered to myself, "How did they teach him (I guess it was a him) to do that?
As I thought about this question I realized that I am weary with hearing people say things like, "I just can't change." "I've tried, but I know things will never be different." "Other people find victory in life, but I just can't." My conclusion: if a circus trainer can teach an elephant to sit on a stool then surely there is a way for humans to learn and grow.
I believe each and every one of us can learn how to...
1. Communicate effectively.
2. Develop balance in our time management.
3. Have a meaningful devotional life.
4. Reflect on personal mistakes and make needed life changes.
5. Be effective in our studies and professional development.
6. Participate in spiritual disciplines that access the resources of God's grace.
The list goes on and on!
Animals and humans both have a tremendous capacity to learn. It is only when we give up (or chose to ignore the lessons that are before us) that the learning stops. So don't loose hope. God, by design, has created us to be creatures who can grow, develop, and learn! The apostle Peter summarizes it well when he says, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Pet 3:18) Truly this is an admonition for us all!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.