My husband and I each have two or three fancy pieces of paper adorned with our scripted names, gold seal, "credible" institutions' and professors' endorsements. I think they are sandwiched between some very expensive, hard covered textbooks in my dusty loft somewhere. They represent something. They tell people something. Usually, they hang behind your work desk on a wall to remind others that you know stuff. Stuff they don't know. You've done things. Things they haven't. So, they had better listen to you, or at least think highly of what you say. We perpetuate this value by dressing very young people in gowns and strange hats, solemnly parading them across a stage to hand them the scrolled paper, then fist lifted into the air with cheers and victory claps. Many, probably most of them according to recent statistics, don't yet even know how to read, analyze or think and express those thoughts well. For the Christian, the greater question is do they know wisdom? Have they met wisdom and are they intrigued to get to know her better?
On our drive home from town yesterday, my 12 and 14 year old kids had a great conversation with me. They talked of their childhood...yes, they are 12 and 14...talked of how they were introduced to Jesus, the reality and tragedy of Hell and how grateful they are for salvation and their earthly lives. I mostly listened, noticing how they formed their thoughts and sentences, and their passion. I made note of their questions and uncertainties as I made mental plans for furthering their education...how they thought and how they expressed it. A classroom. We have chosen to educate our kids in this kind of way. One that reflects God's priorities, both academic and personal...both the head and the heart.
It boggles my mind that Christians, especially those who have had formal education, place such value on head education. The head taking priority over the heart. True, our head is above our heart and much more prominent, but the heart supplies the blood...the life to it. Head Ed does have value, don't get me wrong, but not the kind most think. I would do it all again in a heart beat. It was good for me. The twenty years or so that followed my degrees, however, have taught me something else. Something far more valuable than the textbook ever did. Once I set down the textbook, picked up the Bible, walked along the shore with fishermen, ate with the forgiven, suffered with the seekers and played with the humble, I began to really understand. Living the Word, not just knowing it, made my mind blossom and my heart full. Being able to see the difference between the world's ways and God's is an enlightenment so precious, no paper or ceremony could ever do justice. I still value education highly, it's still my "profession". I've just redefined it for myself and put it in it's proper place...it doesn't define me.
I mourn the lack of this kind of "education" among believers. A heart education rather than a head one. How do so many Christians not see and understand Jesus? They say they do and in some things they are experts....they things they "get" and enjoy about Him...but what about the rest of Him? We hold high things he made low and spend extravagant amounts of time, energy and money on things He didn't even give a second glance to and even condemned. We sacrifice the sacred for the common.
A few facts we often ignore is that Jesus was not highly educated. He Chose men of low degree to lead His church and followers who were of importance and success, like certain tax collectors and Pharisees, counted their accomplishments as loss, left all of success's benefits and enrolled in the school of Unimpressiveness and Hardship. These are the ones we are implored to listen to and follow, even thousands of years later. Listen to those who open and point to the Word of God, who walk in His footsteps in nasty places. Do not be impressed and influenced by those who place more value on knowing things, and doing things in a status quo, easier or man-pleasing kind of way. No degree, no accomplishment of any kind can compare to the reward of pleasing God and chasing after His Kingdom. Find out what He valued, it's not hard to find out, but so many people ignore it. Re-prioritize you own based on His.We need to give our stupored heads a shake and let our priorities fall into His places.