If you aren’t growing in and living like Christ, you might be a tassel collector …

Christina Ng of ABC news reported an interesting story about Michael Nicholson (pictured above) that gives new meaning to the term “life-long learner.” Check out the short version of this story …

    Nicholson, 71, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has earned 29 degrees and is now pursuing his 30th. He has one bachelor’s degree, two associate’s degrees, 22 master’s degrees, three specialist degrees, and one doctoral degree. He is currently working on a master’s degree in criminal justice.

    “I would like to get 33 or 34. I’m almost there,” he told ABC News. “When I complete that, I’ll feel like I’ve completed my basic education. After that, if I’m still alive — that would take me to 80 or 81 — I would then be free to pursue any type of degree.”

    Western Michigan University professor Tom Carey said of Nicholson, “I’ve had 18,000 students in class and I’ve never heard of anybody like this. He’s the ultimate life-long learner. I marvel at his tenacity to go to school … he’s intrinsically motivated. It’s unique, but it almost sounds bizarre. Some people collect animals and he collects tassels.”

    “Eventually, it became getting as many as I could,” Nicholson said.’

    Yet, with all those tassels, Nicholson has never been employed in any of his fields of expertise.

    “I just stayed in school and took menial jobs to pay for the education and just made a point of getting more degrees and eventually I retired so that I could go full-time to school.”

    “He likes going to school but doesn’t want responsibility,” said Professor Carey’.”

Doesn’t that last statement sound like many church members today? They like going to church and listening to sermons, and spending years (decades) of their lives attending Sunday school, small group Bible studies, “life” groups, taking other church-related classes, and immersing themselves in ongoing Bible learning.

But they don’t like responsibility.

So they just keep going to classes or groups, but don’t put to practical — and purposeful — use what they have been learning.

Discipleship is the ultimate call to life-long learning, but with a purpose, one of teaching us to actively live like Jesus. The goal of discipleship is one of transformation …

“This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ,” Ephesians 4:13.

“Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher,” Luke 6:40.

What are you doing with what you’ve learned, and are learning, in your Bible studies? How are you applying and actively living out what your learn from your study of scripture? How are your Bible studies leading you to become more and more like Jesus, and to live like Him?

Or are you just collecting tassels?