Devotional: Capturing A Teachable Heart

Kneel down and look into the eyes of a young man who sits covered in dust on the dirty ground.  What do you see?  Emptiness.  A blank stare.  You wave your hand back and forth in front of his face; his eyes remain motionless.  You snap your fingers just in front of his nose; he doesn’t flinch.  He doesn’t blink.  Curiously, you ask: “How long have you been blind?”  “Since I was born,” he replies.  With sadness you muddle back, “I’m sorry.”  Silently you get up and walk away.  Just before stepping out of sight, you turn around for one last glance at this helpless man.  You stop and watch as a stranger walks up to him, kneels down, spits on the ground, makes mud, and then he … “What!”  You’re repulsed as this stranger wipes saliva-mixed mud on the blind mans eyes.  Is this a cruel trick?  You’re outraged!  Then the blind man gets up and steps into the pool just behind him, washes off the mud, and begins screaming, “I can see!  I can see!”  You take your eyes off the man to find the stranger – He’s gone!  What did He do?  Who is this strange man who can give sight to the blind?  And has the ability to heal in such a peculiar way?

 

Your curiosity leads you to follow this once blind man as he begins running through the streets – shouting with excitement.  His neighbors and friends are in disbelief when they hear the man’s story – some deny his identity – the rest decide to bring him to their religious leaders to determine the truth. 

 

Once at the temple, you stand in the corner, listening in to all that’s being said, wondering why, as the questions fly, this once blind man seems to be on trial.  “How did you receive your sight?” – “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”  “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” – “Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!”  “What did he do to you?  How did he open your eyes?” – “I have told you already and you did not listen.  Why do you want to hear it again?”

 

You are amazed by the piety of these religious leaders’ questions, their self-righteousness, yet lack of understanding.  The interaction then becomes even more intense as the religious leaders begin to insult the man for his answers and then add, “We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”  The young man replies with the same intensity, “Now that is remarkable!  You don’t know where He comes from, yet he opened my eyes.  We know that God does not listen to sinners, …but to the Godly man who does his will.  Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.  If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”  The religious leaders boil with anger at this answer and defensively respond, “How dare you lecture us!”  Then they throw him out of the temple – out of God’s dwelling place – excommunicated.

 

It is evident that these religious leaders have stopped listening and have abandoned a teachable heart.  Why have they become un-teachable?  Let us look at the canvas of teachable and un-teachable hearts by comparing the attributes of the blind man to the religious leaders:

 

  • The blind man lives in a position of humility; the religious leaders clutch positions of power.

  • The blind man acknowledges his need for God; the religious leaders acknowledge their own righteousness.

  • The blind man listens to Jesus; the religious leaders give answers while failing to listen.

  • The blind man feels God’s touch; the religious leaders deny God’s touch.

  • The blind man experiences God personally; the religious leaders keep God at a distance by reserving themselves only to religious practices.

  • The blind man knows little; the religious leaders know too much.

  • The blind man is uneducated but wise; the religious leaders possess knowledge but are fools with truth.

  • The blind man receives his sight; the religious leaders remain blind.

 

Like the blind man, we must recognize our spiritual needs and shortcomings while possessing the humility to bathe in the pool of God’s healing love and truth.  Failure to do this will lead to a spiritual stagnation and an un-teachable heart.  To learn we must see a need to be taught; to be taught we must be humble enough to learn.  Only then, will we retain a teachable heart.

 

Reflection:

  • Have your religious practices (attending church and/or serving) replaced your quest for truth? 

  • Have you become self-sufficient by failing to acknowledge your continual need for God in life and ministry?

  • Have you grown so accustomed to giving answers that you are no longer willing to listen to the “Answer”? 

  • Has your acquired spiritual knowledge blinded you to what you still need to learn about God?

  • Do you resist the insight of God and others in matters of life and ministry?

  • Do you irregularly experience God’s revitalizing work in your life?

 

If you have answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, then you may need to honestly reflect on your level of teachability and enter a season of seeking God to transform your character from the attributes of a religious leader to that of the blind man.

 

Prayer:

God, I want to be a teachable leader.  Give me the humility to see where I need to continue growing and learning in my relationship with you and my ministry to others.

 

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*The story in this devotional is a modified storyline from John chapter 9.

**Many of the quotes in this devotional come from the New International Version of John chapter 9.

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3 Responses

  1. […] Capturing a teachable heart (A devotional by Ron Klabunde.) […]

  2. Ron,

    This is a wonderful devotional and has helped me in my quest to find the best way to speak about a teachable heart. I love this passage of scripture, John 9. It is one of my favorite passages in the Bible because the man’s eyes were opened while the Pharisees were blind.

    Thanks,
    Brien Sims

    • Brien,

      I am glad this devotional is so helpful to you. God’s has spoken deeply to me too through this passage.

      Ron

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