In my last post I shared my thoughts on vocation and just how far we have strayed from our true calling. Well, just as we have reduced vocation to simply making ends meet, I believe we too have reduced education to be a means to an end. That end being a job (and not our vocation).
We count credits, study to the test, and hope to “get into a good school” so we might land a solid job. Nothing is wrong with good schools or good jobs and unfortunantly, we often have to play according to the rules when it comes to GPA and SAT scores and yet, as partakers in the reconciliation process, we are called to something greater. We are called to a greater and fuller understanding. A brighter truth.
Over lunch a few years ago, I sat with a peer who told me with rolling eyes that, “education doesn’t matter in the light of eternity.” Not only had they bought into the lie our American culture tries to feed us, they had bought into the lie our American church tries to feed us. Once again, here was the great split, the division between the secular and the sacred. Education was viewed as earthly and “time sensitive.” It was simply a part of growing up. It was simply a necessity and it most certainly had nothing to do with Christianity because, “who needs physics in heaven?”
However we are part of the redemption story . . . we as sons of Adam and daughters of Eve are called to cultivate the earth and we as followers of Christ are to bring healing to a broken world. Education isn’t a societal obligation to achieve a diploma. It’s a rich blessing. It’s a process. It’s a pursuit of our purpose here on earth, our sweet spot, if you will.
Education is not simply the time you spend in school. Education is a cultivation, a whetting of the appetite within to learn and observe. What used to be known as “discipline” is now known as “your major.” But discipline was a specific word with a specific trajectory; helping you find your place in helping the world, in becoming more human, more of who you were made to be in Eden, in paradise and in perfect harmony.
Education and vocation are not simply milestones that we reach at a certain age (Graduation, check. Promotion, check. Retirement, made it!) They are a lifelong journey of pushing into who we were made to be. Education ought to equip us with the tools so we might build better cities, grow better food, create beauty, solve problems, understand the ecosystem and execute justice.
My lunch date didn’t see the good of society, of the world or of creation, as part of our mission. Education was just another “earthly” activity. I would beg to differ. I believe education can be a lifelong journey and the tool that aids us in our mission so we might live fully up to our potential as image bearers continuing the development of God’s created order and thus point to the hope that awaits us. The new earth. The restored.