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Kids count the days. Teachers count the days. Principals count the days. Until everybody can shout those happiest of all words, "School's out!" Police cars sport bumper stickers that warn drivers to be extra careful. Same reason: "School's out." And graduations are real milestones because you don't ever have to go back to that school if you don't want to! I hate to rain on anybody's parade, but that "school's out" thing is actually a myth. Or at least it should be.
Okay, it may be okay if you don't spend any more hours in a school building; if you don't have to take any more of those stressful midterms or finals. But there's a sense in which God doesn't ever want us to consider "school" as being "out," because He's got so much to teach us and so many teachers through whom He wants to send it. Smart people are looking for teachers for the rest of their life.
Listen to how God describes people that He considers wise in our word for today from the Word of God. In James 3, beginning with verse 13, God says, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom - the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure: then peace-loving, considerate, submissive..." Now, notice that God links wisdom with humility. And you can see that link when God describes what wisdom looks like in a person. One way it shows up is when a person is "submissive."
Humble people are wise people. Wise people are humble people, because they're teachable people. An arrogant person is closed - un-teachable. For a wise person, school is never really out because they realize how much they have to learn from almost every person they meet.
A person who realizes that virtually every person he meets has something to teach him is an emotional and spiritual millionaire. In fact, I believe God brings into our lives people through whom He wants to teach us things that He knows that we need to know. Humility becomes more concrete when you think of it, at least in part, as teachability. Which leads us to the million-dollar question, "Are you a teachable person?"
When you meet a new person, do you talk mostly about yourself or do you let them tell you about themselves? Do you approach new people, asking yourself, "What can I learn from this person?" Do you welcome the opportunity to meet people who are from a different background, who have a different kind of personality; someone from a different denominational perspective, a different racial background, another generation? They have so much to give you because they've seen and experienced life from another perspective. And they've learned or they've become things that you may not know much about.
And how about your response to the suggestions you get, the ideas, even the criticisms of the people close to you? Are you closed or are you open to what they see and what they say? In humility, do you gain insight from their input? Or are you all proud, rigid, and inflexible? Then by God's definition, you're just not one of those folks that He calls "wise" and that He calls "understanding." Many of the most important teachers you'll ever have in your life are not the ones you'll necessarily meet in a classroom - as important as they are. It will be the people God brings into your everyday life with something He knows you need to know.
And the more teachers you welcome into your life, the wiser you're going to be.