BLOG––Encouraged by Faith

Education

Posted by April Bumgardner on

 

As the daffodils dip their heads slightly and the lilacs bloom in heavy clusters, I am beginning to think of those among us who are eager to sleep in, pack away the books and not worry about an upcoming exam. Here’s to those involved in formal education: our students.

Our word educate comes from the Latin educare, meaning to train or mold, and educere, meaning to lead out of. In essence, education is using a guide to lead someone out of themselves and into greater knowledge and truth. As Christians, we see education is, at the core, concerned with spiritual growth and knowledge. 

“Then you will understand what is right and just and fair - every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Proverbs 2:9-10

We are all self-centered creatures. Left alone, we will think our own thoughts, and be concerned with ourselves, and believe the loud, clamorous voice in our head that proclaims we are in the right. Opening ourselves up to an education includes stepping out of our tiny world, realizing we are not the center, even more, that we are not God and that we do, in fact, need him.

C. S. Lewis, twentieth-century theologian, medieval scholar and creator of Narnia novels, once surmised, “The man who is contented to be only himself and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented.” Here he gives his reason for reading great books, for understanding great literature and thought, but I believe this can also be applied to a knowledge of the natural world, to all forms of human expression, but mostly to the thoughts of God.

Our education should deepen and broaden the world which we occupy and we ought not to think it has run its course the day we receive a diploma. As we work out our own salvation “with fear and trembling, “ (Phil 2:12) so we also continue to struggle and strive for a more perfect vision of God until the day we meet him face to face. This requires continual study, humility and open discussions with others. We are perpetual students until that Great Day. Whether or not you see yourself as an intellectual, as believers we are all disciples (students) of Christ. We grow in our knowledge of him as we grow to become more like him.

Our culture desperately needs Christians who see themselves as persistent learners. Our culture needs to hear strong, well-thought-out voices for Christ in academia, in the arts, in politics, at the office cubicle and on the work site. Let’s hunger for those things which are “true,” “noble,” “right,” “pure,” “lovely,” “admirable,” “excellent” and “praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). 

Finally, in all of our studies, efforts and work it is arguably most important to remember that our human value does not ever depend on our productivity or knowledge. Although education and work are moral endeavors, we do not exist for either. Instead, we live for the glory of God. Our intrinsic value lies in the love and pleasure of our Creator. In other words, we are not valuable because of what we contribute but because of who and whose we are. This brings us to a paradigm shift in our thinking about education. Our formal education should not simply be utilitarian in nature. Going to college or into apprenticeship to “get a good job” should not be our primary goal. Education should be about feeding the whole person: soul, body and mind, so that we may worship him in all we do. As people, created in the image of a loving God, we are so much more than what we do. We exist to point to his glory. Therefore, our education always has a spiritual element. It is, in and of itself, something holy.

May we all be like the Bereans, searching the Scriptures out of love and enthusiasm for learning, as we “taste and see that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:2-3). May we rest in the mercy and grace of our Jesus who is “not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11). 

Congratulations to our high school graduates: Devyn Byars, Morgan Coers, CarynGrace Horn, Nathan Littrell, Nick Meyer, Brandon Nelson, Cahlia Plett, Ben Underwood!

And congratulations to our college grads: Christine Alred, Cameron Ellison, Laura Evans, Candice Williams, Isaiah Snell, and postgraduate grad Dana Robinson!

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