“A mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.”

The opening quote is from Plutarch, a Greek biographer, essayist, and historian. He lived and wrote at the end of the first and beginning of the second century A.D. A granite marker in the heart of campus at Middle Tennessee State University bears this inscription from Plutarch’s writings. I walked by that slab of granite dozens of times over the years while serving in the campus ministry at MTSU. It always stirred my thinking. Still does.

Let the quote marinate for a while.

Whether Plutarch ever became a Christian is mostly uncertain. Regardless, however, his statement resonates with implications for would-be disciples of Jesus Christ. Here’s why. God didn’t send His Son to fill our noggins with information. Jesus’ mission was to transform hearts and turn people to His Father. He came to “ignite a rebellion” of change, to start a revolution of love, and to usher people into the Kingdom of God!

The religionists of Jesus’ day weren’t impressed. To the contrary, they were so focused on religious rituals and rules that they totally missed the “Author of salvation.” Their heads were filled with knowledge about the Law but their hearts empty (and obstinate) of understanding it!

“These men honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” (Isaiah 29:13 and Matthew 15:8)

You and I can fall victim to the same thing!

If we follow Plutarch’s logic, being a disciple of Jesus involves a lot more than gaining head-knowledge about the Bible. Authentic discipleship means we’ll be changed in heart, mind, soul, and behavior. His teachings will travel from head to heart – from informing us to transforming us. Our lives will exhibit a “righteousness from the inside out,” as Mike Cope puts it.

Our behavior will be changed (ignited) by the One we know – not just what we know.

That’s what I think, anyway. What about you?

Looking forward to hearing from you,