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« Your Ministry Relationship:  Jesus as Servant  | Main | The Methodology of Education »

The Goal of Education

(This is the final segment of the next chapter in the book, Hand in Hand: Deepening Your Relationship with Jesus Christ.) 

Stop for a moment and think.  Why should a believer REALLY pursue an education?  If we believe that we are eternal souls, that we are destined to live forever with Christ, and that this world is not our home, then what should motivate us to do anything?  The conclusion of such introspection should be the knowledge of Christ.  Everything we learn must enhance our knowledge of things eternal, not temporal.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10.  Ultimately, any knowledge we gain must increase or enhance our knowledge of Christ.  

Knowledge of Self vs. the Knowledge of God 

Educators themselves understand that math, English, science, etc. do not comprise the whole of learning.  Marc Prensky, founder and executive director of the Global Future Education Foundation and Institute, says, “The real goal of education, and of school, is becoming—becoming a ‘good’ person and becoming a more capable person than when you started. Learning is nothing but a means of accomplishing that goal, and it is dangerous to confuse the ends with the means.”  (  

The goal of “becoming,” however, still falls within the province of humanistic learning.  One of the tenets of faith celebrated by humanists involves self-actualization or the effort of the individual to develop his or her own life to the maximum capacity possible.  The British Humanist Society says, “Humanists differ from religious people in a number of ways. We do not ask for help from “god”, nor do we expect any reward in “heaven”. Instead we rely upon ourselves and other human beings, and devote our time and energy to the world we live in.” Contrast this with what Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5. 

Secularists accentuate self-knowledge over external knowledge, including a knowledge of God.  This view became popular in the literary elite of England in the nineteenth century  and was articulated by a number of their celebrities and poets.  For example, Robert Browning, a skeptic, if not an atheist, said in his poem, Paracelsus, “Truth is within ourselves. It takes no rise from outward things what’ere you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all where truth abides in fullness, And to know, rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape, than an effective entry for a light supposed to be without.”  For Browning, who knew the Bible very well, this statement is a deliberate corruption of the words of Jesus, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  

As a believer, you need to ask yourself the question as you embark on an educational career, “How will this lead me closer to God?  How can I use this knowledge to strengthen and deepen my relationship to Jesus Christ?  The minutiae of details you must learn to get a degree or to qualify you for a position may work for this world, but it cannot fatten your soul.  Use any knowledge of self you gain along the way if it assists you in your quest for divine intimacy.  Otherwise, you are only rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.  

Self-Serving or God-Serving 

The twin of self-knowledge is self-service.  The former affords you an awareness of your person, your abilities, your talents and your aspirations.  The latter identifies your activities, your employment and your career choices.  The first is knowing; the second is doing.  The relevant question here involves the goal of your busyness, the overall objective of all your work days.  Are you dedicating your time to yourself?  Is pleasure, pride, esteem, popularity, wealth, status or admiration the reason for your employment?  Even if you have a noble and lofty goal, the absence of God in the picture of your life shrinks your vision to a small and pathetic end.  What you do with your time becomes the true measure of your life.  As another poet said, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.”  (T. S. Elliot).  Your relationship to God is not only based upon what you know, but also on what you do.  Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). 1 John 3:18 (AMP). 

Your education should point you towards service to God, not the advancement of self.  Keep in mind that the assets you have at your disposal represent gifts of God.  None of us are entitled to any blessing, any gift or any valuable resource.  Therefore, it is only right that God, the Landlord and true Owner of the estate we call Earth, should reap the benefits of our labor.  At the end of life, all believers need to look back over their shoulders at the life they lived and say, “To God be the glory!” 

Just let me live my life
Let it be pleasing, Lord to Thee
Should I gain any praise,
Let it go to Calvary.

With His blood, He has saved me
With His power, He has raised me.
To God be the glory
For the things he has done

(Andrae Crouch)

Jesus Is Your Mentor 

Christ, the Master Teacher, imparts value to your soul that transcends secular or temporal education.  He will not school you in algebra or trigonometry, but He embodies the reason why these subjects are necessary.  He will not tutor you in the English or Spanish language, but He leads you to the purpose of communication.  He will not train you to become a vascular surgeon or an actuary, but He will give you an understanding of how these careers are vital to your mission of serving Him.  Everything you learn becomes a runway or a ramp to a more complete education in eternal matters. 

Go to college to learn how to make a living.  Go to Jesus to learn how to make a life.  College gives you information; Christ lives in you as the Informer.  College enlightens; Jesus is the Light.  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30. 

I found an impressive recommendation for Jesus as Mentor in a surprising place:  a T-shirt marketer: “If they keep pressing to find out who your mentor is, you can say:  My mentor is the one of the most influential people on earth today. They’ve worried governments, they’ve aggravated the wealthy and frustrated the religious. I don’t follow him because he’s got a number one best seller of all time on the market that’s sold more than 6 Billion copies. I follow Jesus Christ as my mentor because he was the only one who claimed to be God and backed that up with a perfect life and a variety of different miracles to prove it.  

“That’s why I try to study him to see how he lived and what he would say about how to live in the 21st century. In fact, before he left earth, he said he would give people who believed in Him a Helper, who he called “his Spirit” who would guide us into all truth.” 

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