Saturday, March 14, 2009


How many serious teachers cringe at these words uttered in a classroom full of students who need to realize the necessity of learning for life. The answer to that question is a great big YES!

How sad that the level of intent on the part of many students is an isolated quiz on an assigned lesson given in one hour on one day for one grade, when a life of applied learning will face many tests. Standing on the other side of the proverbial “desk” as I have and do, I’ve seen my own change In attitudes since I voiced that same question a half century ago. What the years have taught me is that there are many who continue to anchor themselves in the notion that what is taught in the classroom is not really relevant to life beyond it. And it shows in their resistance to think more deeply than what is needed to get a paycheck at week’s end.

It is a growing conviction of mine that of all the places in the world where knowledge is so accessible and endless in its quality and quantity, that this country should be so filled with an apathy of pursuit of such. Having been in other parts of the world where the struggle to have the privilege of education is so competitive and distant from the masses, and where those who do gain a seat in a classroom make the best of it by striving for excellence, I am disturbed by the lack of such among many in our country’s halls of higher learning.

And the evidence of such is not confined just to the traditional classroom, but it has continued to spill over into the work force of the general populace of our country. When you hear such statements as, “Don’t bother me with the facts, I’ll just wing it!”, “I don’t worry about why, just how to get it over and done so I can have some fun!” or just wishing away the work week in a T G I F attitude!

Where today is the mind to learn in order to make a difference, to find new ways to lift society’s focus from a shallow existence spent bouncing from one day to the next with little more desire than satisfying base natured instincts? Where is the mind to find out what makes things “tick” rather than just possessing the “ticker”? Where is the drive to delve deeper instead of just skimming the surface to get from one moment’s diversion to another?

The bottom line is, knowledge obtained, not only in the structured classroom, but in the day to day of life, has more purpose than a series of questions answered to obtain a grade. It has the intent and great possibility of exploring, as yet, uncharted territories in a myriad of disciplines, all waiting to be conquered by the inquiring and depth-seeking mind.

The discipline which not only impacts life spent in one’s few years, but more significantly its eternal destiny, is the spiritual pursuit of knowing God and His purposes. For the increasing major part of the population this pursuit seems almost non-existent in the rush to possess things whose lifespan of pleasure is brief at best. They have no time for the spiritual quest whose perceived result seems so far away as to have no immediate priority or gratification.

But even among those who confess their faith and give devotion to the quest for God and His will, there are many whose perception of this discipline is as an activity to be enjoyed rather than a deeper relationship to be learned. Here, too, are the comments heard that reveal a lack of depth desired. “Don’t bother us with doctrine, just preach the Bible!”, “We want worship services that just make us feel better!” or the attitude that says the sum total of my spiritual responsibility is to attend church on Sunday, give a little to help pay the preacher, read the Bible, pray at meals, be good to my family and refrain from kicking the dog.

While these latter sentiments may be physical activity with spiritually good motive, they do not fulfill the divine desire of God for a deepening intimacy with His crowning creation…man. The physical is to be a burning outgrowth of time spent deeper in the mind of God’s heart. It is the overflow of a spring of intimate knowing that gushes forth when one’s spiritual pickax pierces the deep, refreshing fountain of God’s love.

No wonder the Psalmist could write, “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” (Psalms 36:7-9)

No wonder Paul could pen the words of his desire for more intimacy in his epistle of joy, Philippians, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Philippians 3:8-10) Paul goes further in verses 12 through 21, to challenge our pressing forward to claim the quest of this high calling of God, and I urge you to read and absorb its depths.

Will it be on the test? You bet it will. Everyday as you pursue God’s mind and heart. Be encouraged, friend, for it is a wonderful quest and the answers not hard to give if they are practically applied.

1 comment:

Amber said...

Everytime I hear someone say "TGIF" -- I think of you! I can hear you saying those exact words about people who just live for the weekend.

Love you guys!