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Learning Through Experience

Devotions

As a child, for me, a trip to the dentist meant sitting in an electric chair that went up and down, choosing between cinnamon or bubblegum toothpaste, and taking home a plastic bag of goodies. My positive childhood experiences at the dentist gave me valuable knowledge and a good attitude toward oral hygiene that would last a lifetime.

Experience can be a powerful teacher. The New Testament Greek word ginosko means “to come to know” or understand. Jesus masterfully used real-life experiences to help His followers learn enduring lessons. In Mark 6:30–44 the disciples returned to Jesus after being given power to heal and cast out demons. Jesus and the disciples tried to rest, but large crowds continued to follow them. Notice Christ’s attitude of compassion as He taught late into the day. Verse 34 tells us that Jesus “had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”

The crowds were so enthralled with His teaching that no one thought about how food would be obtained. Jesus told his disciples to meet the people’s need and feed them. Taking inventory, they found only five loaves and two fish (v. 41). In Jesus’ hands, that meager supply multiplied to feed more than 5,000 people.

Imagine, if you will, that dinner- time conversation! I am sure people swapped many stories the following days due to this once-in-a-lifetime experience. What’s most important about experiential learning is that it leads to greater understanding. The truth of Mark 6 is not just that dinner supplies could be miraculously fashioned out of thin air. The disciples and the crowd witnessed an all-powerful God who was able to meet their needs. They saw a demonstration of God’s love for people.

>> What experiences in your life have taught truth to you? What have you learned about God through the way He has cared for your needs? Write down that story so you will remember and share it today!

BY Mary Martin, Former Professor of Christian School Education

Dr. Mary Martin previously served at Moody as program head of Christian School Education and chair of the Education and Counseling division. She has also served as a classroom teacher, principal, and head of school. Mary is the author of Impacting Student Learning through Christ-Centered Instructional Leadership and currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, Michael. She speaks at numerous education conferences each year and loves mentoring Moody graduates.

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