Monday, March 30, 2015

The place of grace in education

“18 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,

‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’

20 and again,

‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
    that they are futile.’”  1 Corinthians 3:18-20 (NRSV)

I have spent a great portion of my career in higher education, especially adult education.  I believe that education can help us to get better jobs, improve our lives, and become more giving.  Educated people have more resources to contribute to our society in positive ways. 

However, when I read the scripture passage above, it reminds me education does not make us wise with God. We must allow God to use education to equip us to do His will, but education apart from God can make us arrogant and self-serving. 

I often see students striving to get an education to help bolster their self-esteem.  Education alone will not do this, because education is a beginning or a catalyst, not an ending or a goal.  If the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God, then education must be used as the path we walk to seek God’s wisdom. 

Education that leads to arrogance is foolishness to God, but education that leads to a true understanding of ourselves—our value to God and our value to our fellow man—glorifies God.

A true understanding of ourselves as we relate to God bolsters our self-esteem because God’s grace has given us a worthwhile place in His glorious kingdom.