Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Read Mt 9.14-17, Mk 2.18-22, Lk 5.33-39

And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.'” (Luke 5:36-39)

After being questioned, Jesus describes the Pharisees’ root problem; they were stuck in the old ways and could not embrace the new. They were unteachable.

A disciple is a learner. Teachability is a primary characteristic that Jesus is looking for in His followers. The disciple must remain pliable and alert to the new lessons the Father brings into his life. One of the common mistakes for young disciples is that they often reinforce new found knowledge with rebar and concrete only to dig up many of these “convictions” later. Ultimately, the Word of God is their authority not a Disciplemaker. They must always stand ready to change based on the new information they get from the Word of God (Act 17.11).

This principle applies to Disciplemakers as well. We should be setting the pace for younger disciples by increasing in knowledge, wisdom, and application. We model the art of teachability by becoming lifelong learners, eager to seek Jesus on new levels and different angles. As Howard Hendricks says, “The disciple who has stopped learning has stopped living.”

Teachability is also a primary consideration for me in determining whom I will engage in a mentoring relationship. My resources are limited. I can only mentor so many people. If a person is unwilling to learn and apply the principles I am teaching, it is a waste of God given resources (Notice I said mentoring not helping. Jesus helped many, He mentored few). I am looking for hungry people. I feed based on appetite. Jamming food down someone’s throat usually just makes a mess. I have another saying, “You can’t push a rope.” The disciple must be willing to learn.

Tips for Teachability:
· Set the example of being a lifelong learner
· Challenge learning but don’t force learning
· Let people simmer if they need to
· Always have the radar up for the teachable moment
· Help disciples learn from different people and sources
· Ask a lot of questions
· Leave room for self discovery
· Recognize there are different techniques (you may learn something!)


For questions or comments drop me a line at or click the envelope below to send this post to a friend…

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: