What’s the point of school?
Jonathan Cho // April 19, 2017, 2:11 pm
In the past month I feel like God has been taking me on a journey of discovering what it truly means to honour Him as a student. Do I need to study harder, for longer hours? Do I need to give more time in service in Church and spend less time in school? Should I evangelise more to the people around me?
While I think that neither of these suggestions are really wrong in themselves, taken in isolation, they provide an incomplete picture of what it means to be a God-fearing, God-loving student.
The privilege of being a student is this: You have the capacity, time and resources to grow in knowledge. At no other time in your life will you find so many people dedicated to the cause of helping you to think better and quicker. At no other time in your life will you find yourself willingly being intentional about growing in the knowledge of your area of study.
But what do we do with this knowledge, be it in sociology, psychology, law or medicine? Do we merely take it, consume it, and use it for our selfish purposes of doing well in examinations, and then dispose of it like we do with food and waste?
I believe that as students, God has called us to more than just memorising notes and learning the syllabus.
How many of us take the time to fully digest the knowledge – ideas, thoughts, theories – presented to us, and then to compare it with the knowledge and truths that God has made known to us? If we have truly “tasted and seen that the Lord is good”, then why is it that we don’t feel discomfort when we taste of the bitter false truths that this world presents to us?
We – this generation of students – we need to be more thoughtful with the knowledge that we inherit.
Knowledge is powerful. It can be used to build up, or it can be used to destroy. Many have used knowledge to corrupt and contribute to the brokenness of this world. Yet there are some who attempt to use it to right the wrongs they see.
Where do we stand as Christian students? Do we simply sit back and watch the battles being fought between intellectual and intellectual, struggle to understand their respective strategies and merely comment about them on the sidelines? Can we do more? Should we do more?
GOD IN THE CLASSROOM
I believe that as students, God has called us to more than just memorising notes and learning the syllabus. He has called us to stand up for what is right, to speak up and to bring restoration to the broken corners of our World. And as Christian students, we start where we are: In our stipulated platforms for discourse, our essay assignments, class discussions and conversations with friends/professors.
Are we settling for what is good, and giving up on what is best?
So often I find myself satisfied in simply handing in a paper that has cited all the right articles and produced decent arguments. But more recently, I’m starting to wonder what my created work reflects about me. If I am made in the image of God, why shouldn’t I reflect the same character, kindness, thoughtfulness, carefulness, generosity as God does in His creative work? Will anyone be able to see from my writing, and my thought processes, that I am a person surrendered to the Lordship of Christ? Or will I merely be acknowledged as a decent student who has made a commendable effort to apply what this world has taught me about my area of study?
I need to do more. We need to do more. We need to start challenging ourselves to bring God more into the conversations we have, the thoughts we entertain and the ideas we follow through. We need a deeper sense of Truth in what we talk about.
We need a deeper sense of God.
God has redeemed us all, and as students, I I don’t think merely “studying hard and doing well in school” does justice to such a redemptive work. The Bible says, “Do not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Let us stop being passively influenced and blindly accepting of what the scholars and teachers tell us about the world we live in.
Instead, rise up, and look to transform the people around you, by influencing and renewing their minds with what God has told us in His word, about His world.
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom … but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23 -24)