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The key to humility: a teachable heart

Today’s verse is Mark 12:28: “And one of the scribes came up and hard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, ‘Which commandment is most important of all?’”

A scribe, probably also a Pharisee, noticed the religious leaders disputing with themselves after the questions about paying taxes to Rome and who would be whose husband in the resurrection.  I would imagine that he laughed at their stupid attempts to trap Jesus into controversy.

But this scribe was different.  He must have been a theological scholar, based on the question he asked Jesus.  He asked which commandment of God is of greatest importance.  This was not a nonsensical question.  It is the key question to define Jewish faith.  God’s Law was a gift to the Jews, given as a part of the covenant relationship God made with Israel at Mount Sinai.  Which law was considered first, the greatest, the most important was a very important question to ask and be answered by the thoughtful religious leaders of that day.

What strikes me most about this scribe is his apparent teachable heart.  He apparently approached Jesus to enter into a friendly dialogue.  After listening to Jesus’ answers to the official religious leaders, he probably thought Jesus could enlighten him!  Bottom line: he wanted to learn from Jesus.  There was an air of humility.  There was a desire to grow.  He had a teachable heart.

John Calvin, a famous theologian and teacher from the Protestant Reformation time period, once said that the key to humility is a teachable heart.  I think he is right.  A teachable heart proves someone doesn’t know all the answers.  A teachable heart proves insufficient knowledge.  A teachable heart is a heart of faith, one that seeks to know more and grow more.  It can’t be arrogant or prideful because it knows it doesn’t know all.

In my own life, I’ve learned that I can’t grow in my faith without a teachable heart.  It allows me to receive correction when I’ve done something wrong.  It allows me to appreciate others whom God is using greatly without being jealous.  Every year, it allows the message God’s Spirit gives me to preach to become better and better.

Is your heart humble today?  Does it go to Jesus seeking to learn more and more?  Are you teachable?

Jesus will always be able to instruct a teachable heart.

It’s the earmark of humility.

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