It is hard to say you love discipline when in the middle of it. Young and old people alike find it hard to appreciate discipline, yet we yearn for knowledge. How do you react when someone critiques your work, when a friend calls you out on something wrong you have done, when a parent spanks you or performs some other form of training? Generally speaking, it is not a pleasant experience. Hopefully, as we acquire years and experience, the reaction to discipline will be funneled into an appreciation for knowledge. Without discipline, knowledge is hard to come by. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 12:1).
Picture here a Roman taskmaster, usually the slave of the family, whose responsibility was the discipline of the children from around the age of 6-16. This discipline included morality, eating habits, and behavior. The Greek word for “taskmaster” is found in both 1 Corinthians 4:15 and Galatians 3:24, both with this concept of guiding in the right direction. God wants His children to go in the right direction and has established “taskmasters” to see to it that we have the opportunity to be led that way.
The use in 1 Corinthians tells of the many “guides” we have in Christ. Paul wrote to the Galatians about the Law being the “taskmaster” until Christ came and people could be justified by faith. If people choose to ignore the taskmaster then knowledge is stifled.
Children who were told what they could and could not eat by the taskmaster, in what activities they were allowed to participate, and how to properly behave probably got daunting at times. Like any discipline, though it may not be pleasant at the time, be assured that it is necessary if you love knowledge. So, do not be stupid and hate reproof, but love it!
Casey McDonald, Clarendon church of Christ, Clarendon, TX