“All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23: 12
2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. My favorite passage in the writing of the Reformation leader John Calvin is when he described his conversion. Calvin wrote that by his conversion he was given, “A teachable spirit.” Isn’t that a great phrase?
“God,” wrote Calvin, “by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life.”
What a wonderful depiction of conversion, of coming to faith in Christ. In place of the hardened heart, a receptive one. A breakdown in the defenses we’ve so carefully built to protect us.
I thought of Calvin’s “teachable spirit” as I read a recent interview with Microsoft’s newish CEO, Satya Nadella. Nadella spoke of his efforts to shift the culture of Microsoft from a “know-it-all” one to one characterized by a “learn-it-all curiosity.”
How great it is when a church is a place and people of “learn-it-all curiosity”?
By contrast, a “know-it-all” attitude can be a real Spirit-quencher.
Faith, while it surely includes heartfelt convictions, doesn’t mean that we have all the answers. Conversion, if Calvin had it right, may mean that there are many more open questions that we had previously imagined.
Coming to faith might mean we experience a greater alertness to life and to the holy than we’ve known ever before. And that, in the words of today’s Scripture, is what I would call a truly “exalted” state.
Where I have grown hard and well-defended, open my eyes and my heart and soften my frame. Amen.
Celebrate the Reformation anniversary by ordering the new best-seller from the Writers Group, “500.”
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. He is the author of many books, including “What’s Theology Got To Do With It: Convictions, Vitality and the Church. You can read Tony’s “Weekly Meditation” and “What’s Tony Thinking?” at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.