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Summary: Does God care about education? What does the Bible say about learning?

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AIMING FOR EXCELENCE

09/02/2012

It is the time of year again; kids and their parents are gearing up for yet another hectic school year with mixed emotions. Parents may be relieved that summer vacation has finally ended so that they can get their kids out of their hair where as some kids may be dreading to go back to school. While some kids are eager to get on with further education and can hardly wait again to get back onto the “honor’s list,” some might carry a “who cares” kind of an attitude and yet others might be quitting in their hearts before they even began, thinking what is the point in all of this hard work; why should I study in the first place?

Does it really matter whether you study or not and get a good education? Well if you ask any sensible person they would tell you the benefits of getting a degree and the draw backs of not getting one. From my personal experience I can tell you that getting a higher education will be beneficial in the long run. Not only will you get a better paying job but also if you are a committed Christian God can place you in a place of greater influence.

Does God care about education? What does the Bible say about learning? Does God expect excellence from his children? What examples of excellence do we find in the Bible? How about those who are not highly educated can they be still used by God? To begin with let’s look at the word “excellence.” It means the fact or state of excelling, superiority, eminence, to surpass others, to be superior in some area or other, and to do something extremely well. For example, Michelangelo the Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. He was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. His work can not be compared with any others.

But there is some one who is Par excellence! which means “beyond comparison” that is God Himself who challenges us with these words, “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal? says the Holy One. (Isaiah 40:25) Our God is beyond all comparison and comprehension, since we belong to Him he expects his children to aim for excellence. Let me share three biblical stories of those who aimed for excellence.

The first story is about Moses. What comes to your mind when you think of Moses? Do you see him as an old man who was reluctant to obey God’s orders and gave lame excuses saying, “I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servenat? I am slow of speech and tongue.”(Ex 4:10) But was he really dumb? No! He was anything but dumb, the scriptures tell us from his birth onwards he was an extraordinary person.

In Acts 7:22, we read, “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” I am sure all that education later on helped him to lead nearly half a million people from a land of slavery to a land flowing with milk and honey. How about Joseph a young Hebrew slave who excelled in his character more than his brothers, rose in ranks of responsibility both in a palace and a prison and eventually became one of the top most officials of Egypt.

Then there was King Solomon who asked for wisdom more than earthly riches. He was one of the wisest kings that ever lived in Israel. He was a scholar, biologist, zoologist, poet and a philosopher. He spoke 3,000 proverbs and wrote1005 songs. In 2 Chro 9:22-23 we read, “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.”

In the book of Proverbs Solomon gives sound advice on learning. Listen to his advice. “I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching when I was a boy in my father’s house still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme therefore get wisdom.”(Prov 4: 2-5)

The interesting insight here is that learning flows from connectedness. God has designed for some of the most significant learning to take place in the earliest years of a child. The time you spend playing, talking, walking, feeding or reading with your child is not wasted. It is an opportunity to teach and build a love of learning in your child. We have entered a new era of high definition digital world; though there are many benefits to this, as Christian parents we also have to be aware of the hidden dangers in these developments. As parents we don’t want to be so virtually engrossed that we neglect the emotional need for real life connectedness in our children. Also we want to be wise as parents to set boundaries for the amount of screen time or texting time we allow our children to engage in.

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