The problem with always “just starting”

I am just starting to understand what it means to follow Jesus.

That’s what I tell myself regularly.

I don’t understand all that relationship means. I have so much that I haven’t taken seriously from the Bible. I often think, “I need to spend some time following that thread all the way through.” (For an example of what I mean by threads, read Testing God, where I trace a statement Jesus made back to Deuteronomy and then to Exodus.)

There are many other things that I could point to that are things that I wish I did better.  But then I remember a conversation that I had with a friend recently. He said, “You already know this and live it. I’m just starting to understand it.”

My immediate response when people say that I know something better than they do is usually to say, “No I don’t. If only you knew.” But this time I didn’t say that. I thought about what he said. I realized that I have been thinking about what he was talking about longer than he has. I do have a little clearer understanding.

That doesn’t, of course, make me better. It merely makes me responsible for more. I have more to act on, more to live out. But it also makes me responsible to think about how I can help him learn what I know.

It sounds all humble to talk about ourselves as beginners. But it probably keeps us from explaining what we do know.

I don’t know as much about God as Billy Graham. But I probably do know more than some of the people who are reading these words. And if those of us who know something never explain because we don’t know everything, well, I guess maybe we don’t understand anything.

3 thoughts on “The problem with always “just starting”

  1. Rich Dixon

    I think it probably matters less how much you know than how much of yourself you’re willing to share. In that regard it may be a lot like the widow’s mite.


  2. Mimi Meredith

    This insight is very timely, Jon. I am working hard to overcome my habit of engaging in self-deprecating humor and minimizing my value. I often fall into this trap when I want to make others feel better about themselves, or when I begin comparing myself to others I think have greater value. I keep reminding myself that I’m the best me available in the moment, and sometimes that may be exactly what is needed–me–not someone better or someone else. My job is to be the best vessel I’m uniquely designed to be…to be ready to carry whatever message or work God needs to have carried into the world. When I own my experience or knowledge and honor it, that gives others greater confidence in me as a trusted source. I think that must be okay…even though it feels self-serving and none-too-humble. Making myself less does not make God more. But it’s a hard lesson for me to learn!


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