The Life of Your Mind (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3)


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Submitted by Andy McIlvain.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

“Our whole life is an Education — we are ‘ever-learning,’ every moment of time, everywhere, under all circumstances something is being added to the stock of our previous attainments. Mind is always at work when once its operations commence. All men are learners, whatever their occupation, in the palace, in the cottage, in the park, and in the field. These are the laws stamped upon Humanity.” These were the words of Edward Paxton Hood in his Self-Education: Twelve Chapters for Young Thinkers, published in 1852.

Are you a life-long learner? Life-long learners like to learn, seek opportunities to grow, take care of their bodies, make progress, have goals, and embrace change. It is never too late to start something new.

Keeping our brains active and engaged in new endeavors like knitting, sewing, quilting, home repairs, playing games, using computers, or reading improve our cognitive abilities as we age.

Learning could even extend your life. People who read books for more than 3.5 hours a week are 23 percent less likely to die over a 12-year period – a good reason to further your education! All reading can be an act of worship, as is everything we do daily to the glory of God.

To learn to think about thinking we must realize that we can think in ways different than we do. The reality is there are other peoples, worldviews, philosophies of life, and belief systems at work in the world. We can learn much from other people and other cultures.

In our thinking and learning we must remain humble. No matter how much we learn and know, it is a gift, not from us but from God. If we boast of anything, it should be that we are known by God. Homo sapiens, means “the wise thinking creature.” We are in fact a human becoming, always changing physically and mentally until our physical death.

We live in a time where we have been conditioned by distraction and it has harmed our ability to think and to reason. Today our craving for “the totally irrelevant” has been supplied by the endless choices of irrelevance in our smartphones, computers and other media. More information has been created in the past 2 years than in all of human history.

We become distracted from the more important things in life to the least important, which trickles down to our relationships and responsibilities. We are distracted because of our fallen, selfish nature; evil resides inside us just as futility has also infected our world, our bodies, and environment. (Romans 8:20-23)

Your education did not end at graduation. We must be eager to learn and willing to listen. The knowledge we gain today goes with us into eternity.

We must be thinkers and doers! Serious thinking and learning, then, is about loving God and people more. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

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