. . . They took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Acts 18:26
I’m not particularly good at wakeboarding, but I do have a boat and I do know how to get up on a wakeboard. That makes me the de facto teacher when anyone visiting the lake wants to learn. Aside from athletic skill there are basically two different kinds of students. There are those who are coachable and those who are not. The teachable student knows he needs help and wisely accepts instruction. This one is a joy to teach. The unteachable one, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to hear it. He may get up eventually, learning through trial and error, but it’s a longer, more painful process – for everyone.
Unfortunately, I do this myself. At the gym, I can occasionally be uncoachable. I do things how I want and even though there is no supporting evidence, I think my way is best. Sure, the coaches are obviously better than me, but still, I resist instruction. I may learn eventually, but it’s a longer, more painful process – for everyone.
Today’s passage describes a teachable individual. In the story, two disciples – Priscilla and Aquila – encountered Apollos, who preached of Christ but didn’t have all the facts. The disciples recognized Apollos’ deficiency and gently pulled him aside, filling in the gaps. Apollos was eloquent, intelligent, and well-educated. It would have been easy for him to pridefully refuse correction, but instead, he must have humbly listened, as he went on to work with the disciples, spreading the gospel of Christ. Though he was successful, Apollos never became unteachable.
Success is perhaps, the biggest barrier to my continued growth and learning. None of us is perfect and none of us have life all figured out, so, we’re supposed to continually be in the process of transformation. Drug addiction isn’t my only life struggle. I have other things on which I need to be working. In recovery now though, I have just enough success that I sometimes embrace pride, becoming unteachable and thus, incapable of growth or change.
As Christians, we’re particularly prone to this in our faith. We can and should have convictions. However, we must continually be willing to be learn. When we get to the point where we know it all and refuse to learn anything from anyone, we’ve embraced a pride that is deadly to authentic faith. If we want to continue to grow, then like Apollos, we must humbly remain teachable.