Grades and the Gospel
At the beginning of my thirty-fourth year of teaching perhaps you'll allow me a few random thoughts about education.
1) Teaching is not teaching unless lives have been changed. It is not mere instruction we need in the classroom. Instead we need men and women who will model the Jesus lifestyle. Those who do, who depend completely on the living God and not on their own intellectual prowess, are the people God will use to shake our generation.
2) Information is not a product to be marketed. Today we have a glut of information about the Bible. The result is often a slavish dependence upon computers, degrees, education, management skills, and human talent. If there appears to be any human explanation for what we do, we jump on it. When this happens, our science and technology become nothing more than tools of the Evil One. It is only when we are freed from our over-dependence on human plans, programs, and leaders are we able to trust God rather than ourselves.
3) Our "studies" often betray our callous indifference to God and what matters most to Him. If we love the Lord our God the way we say we do, how can we spend so little time in doing what is of eternal importance? The world is looking for handsome, self-important people to lead it, but God is looking for humble, Spirit-dependent people who will love the lost as He does.
4) If you are a student and a follower of the Lord Jesus, you have a lot more to worry about than good grades and a diploma. God has prospered you for a reason. The fields are white unto harvest NOW. Millions of people in Asia have never once heard the Gospel and have never seen a Bible, let alone spoken with a Christian. Remember: we're talking about real people with real souls.
Through the years I've often closed my classes with a prayer that contains these words: "Lord, make us winsome and attractive for the Gospel." I got the imagery from 2 Cor. 2:15. Paul says our lives are to be a "fragrant aroma." We are to influence others like perfume. Our goal is not to beat people into submission with arguments. I have yet to witness a debate where anyone's mind was changed. Maybe you have, but I haven't. I think Paul is saying that redemptive people are winsome. And even when they do engage in apologetics (a legitimate enterprise), they have an attractive fragrance that stands out from the aromas of the world. In short, Christians with a combative disposition do not help the cause of Christ.
So, dear Lord, please make us winsome and attractive for the Gospel. Please help us to put a lost world before grades.
It can be done, and by God's grace it must be done.
October 11, 2010
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.