Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
This quote and its variants can be found all over the Internet. It's usually attributed to William Butler Yeats, but one researcher traces it back to Plutarch.
A few days ago it popped into my mind for no apparent reason. In that late-night drowsy state, I thought that it could apply to our faith, as well. I scribbled a few notes and went to sleep. Another day I came back to it.
|Flickr user ViaMoi|
Maybe some religions are like that, but I'm glad that, in Christianity, my salvation doesn't rely on my works.
Instead, it's like lighting a fire. God provides the spark. The fire is all-consuming. Every day I surrender my will to His and let Him work through me. (Easier said than done, I know! Surrender is contrary to human nature, and every day I struggle to let go of what I want.) Just as He created me, He has work for me to do:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)But it's not about completing a checklist or striving to achieve for my own benefit. As long as I'm on this earth, the Lord will have work for me to do. No coasting to the finish line. I am far from perfect--those of you who know me can confirm this--and the work won't be finished until the Lord calls me home. I take comfort in knowing that I'm in good company, with the apostle Paul:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12, ESV)So ... are you filling a pail or fanning a flame?