To College or Not To College... That is the question

11/15/1998

Hi! Several of you with young ones (who won’t always be young) and some of you who are near “college age” have asked this question, so I thought I would give you something to file away in your minds, hearts, and in-baskets for future consideration. Here is the current question: “Should we consider ‘college’ education as an option, in view of this present dark age?” We’ve rightfully re-considered piling our precious little lambs onto bright yellow government busses. We’re not interested in the forced indoctrination of our beautiful children in the ways of the world, by unBelieving peers and teachers. And seldom have we heard of a “christian school” that isn’t dripping with worldliness as well. We haven’t naively “bought” what this evil age is selling us under the banner of “education” for our younger ages. Now, what about the next phase of “education”?

First of all, let’s unravel some bad thinking that has been dumped on us by an exceedingly vain and fallen world. No matter what we’ve been told, four years in COLLEGE is NOT the “next logical step after ‘high school’ for any person who wants to make good of themselves and get a good job, and be ‘expanded’ socially.” This is BAD thinking. BAD, BAD, TERRIBLE thinking. Worldly thinking. Just on the most basic Christian level, we know many people who have accomplished MUCH in their careers and lifetimes and who have generated huge amounts of financial resources for the Kingdom and to supply for their own needs, who never even graduated from “high school”—let alone did anything with college!! “Promotion comes not from the east or west—it comes from the Lord alone!” “Education” and “qualifications” are not what WE find security in. GOD alone makes the decisions that advance our “careers.” We do NOT trust in the chariots and horses of men, or rely on being “discipled by the Philistines” in order to make money and support our families.

“College” is “logical” to the human mind that is so impressed by, and reliant upon, pedigree, experience, connections and the like. However, this is not how a follower of Jesus measures his path and sets his course. Since the Father determines our destiny, based on His Plan, a shepherd can be King and a promotion to Prime Minister of a world power can come out of PRISON! Is that a Bible class lesson for children, or is this HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES—TRUSTING HIM IN ALL THINGS? All of that to say, “college” must NOT be an emotionally or intellectually important issue for us. The cultural norm, the “pattern of the world,” is not to be assumed, or run after, for those who have “died to the world and the world to them.” Those who are “born from above” SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM. God’s Kingdom, that is.

With the backdrop of “God’s Perspective of the foolishness of man’s perspective,” we can go on to consider more about this thing called “college.” Since it isn’t, from God’s vantage point, an “expectation or obvious choice for any aspiring, intelligent young person”...what, then, IS college? Simply put, it MAY be this: an apprenticeship for a particular kind of future occupation. A future electrician would be educated via apprenticeship on the job, perhaps supplemented by some technical classes. A future mason or plumber or carpenter or auto mechanic...would likely be apprenticed by on-the-job training. A future chemist (if this sort of job is appropriate for a disciple of Jesus, and I think surely it could be) would, perhaps, need to be apprenticed in a university. Perhaps apprenticed in four years, or maybe drawn out over eight or ten years, depending on other Kingdom responsibilities and opportunities. An accountant or computer programmer may need an “apprenticeship” (“education”) in a college environment. Perhaps. IF that’s even the kind of job that best fits one’s interests, skills, and most importantly, ability to serve God in the workplace and generate income for HIS Purposes.

Are the jobs of “chemist” or “engineer” or “president” better, in God’s Sight, than the jobs of “janitor” or “fork lift truck driver” or “warehouse clerk”? Only a perspective seduced by the enemy would be impressed with, or consider more desirable, one kind of occupation, and look down on the other. For a parent to be “proud” of one type of occupation over another (rather than reserving all “pride” for whether or not their child is walking the way of the Cross and seeking first the Kingdom)...is utterly worldly and judged by God as such. Let’s not do that!

So, let’s say, after reconciling our easily-misled hearts to the Truths above, we still see that our particular means of generating income for God’s Work and Workers, and for supporting family and sharing with others...is best “apprenticed” in a college situation, in this case. Now, how should we proceed?

In view of the mandate for every follower of Jesus’ to Seek First the Kingdom, several things should be considered. Perhaps the first area of attention should be the course of “apprenticeship.” What “field of study” should be pursued? Some courses would be poor choices, or dangerous choices, or unthinkable choices. Regardless of the world’s esteem and value system, income potential, or even areas of personal interest, there are just some occupations that would be totally inappropriate for a disciple of Christ. Occupations that, either in training or in job description, require too many hours, or perhaps are too dangerous physically to be justifiable, should probably not even be considered. Work that requires too many evenings, or too much travel to be conducive to Kingdom Life, should, also, probably not be considered. Work that compromises areas of modesty, or of thought-life, or dangerous exposures on the Internet or ___ ...cannot be worth risking the only things that have any real value.

Would we jeopardize intimacy with Jesus, and triumphant Life in Christ in daily deep relationships in His Body for the sake of money?! What a hideous thought. Would we do it for ego? Tragic beyond words. Would we do it to please a parent or impress any mere human? How foolish that would be. Would we allow ourselves to be force-fed the world’s “fools-gold wisdom”—simply because we have never questioned their shallow and fatal ways? Surely Not!

If the college “apprenticeship” field of study is still a possibility after filtering it through the above thoughts, then what next? What about the living situation? “Wisdom from below” conventional thinking says, “Ah, well, let ‘em live in the dorms, out ‘on their own’ where they can experience life and grow up.” Again, this is irresponsible and worldly thinking. Frankly, any adult that would say this either doesn’t know God at all, or is seriously blinded by the world in their own work environment. Very few “adults” handle living in the world system all day long without being numbed to God’s Spirit and His Convictions. So, why would we expect our young people, only now in the early stages of being formed into the Image of Christ, to do better than perhaps 98% of adults in the “church world” do? And what about the dorm scene itself, ALL-NIGHTERS in the dorm, night after night? Why would we even consider sending our children away from “the church, which is the pillar and foundation of Truth”? If an adult who has been “baptized by one Spirit into one Body” can NEVER say, “I have no need of you” to daily relationships in the church (1Cor.12, Heb.3:12-14)—how utterly dangerous to subject younger ones to this. Without daily input, anyone and everyone (according to God) will be “hardened and deceived by sin.” Would we build this way for money? For ego? Out of the shallowness of just naively following the world? No way!

If ANYONE is “seeking FIRST the KINGDOM” (not just the King, but “the KINGDOM”—meaning His PEOPLE!), they will need to make living choices accordingly. They will (99.9999% of the time), if seeking FIRST the Kingdom, choose to live in a place where their “work” (whether an apprenticeship in a “college” or a twenty-year veteran of an occupation of any sort) does not take them away from being “daily” (again, Heb.3:12-14, etc.) in the MIDDLE of relationships with God’s People.

So, what does seeking FIRST the King and His Kingdom mean practically?? 1) An adult male will intentionally move his family and find a job in a place where he knows he and his family can be DAILY involved in excellent deep relationships with Jesus’ followers. He will limit his hours and travel and evening hours to best suit his PRIMARY purpose in providing for his family: Seek first the Kingdom. Of course, God’s perspective is that one must “care for the needs of his family” or he is “worse than an infidel.” The greatest needs, obviously, are spiritual. Wow. Serious, priority stuff. Perhaps, as they called it at a corporation where I once was employed, such a priority might be “a CLC”—“a career limiting caper”! But, so be it.

2) For a “college apprenticeship”? Same deal. You can make the application. It would make no sense if one were “seeking FIRST the Kingdom” to move to a city where you are not able to be TOTALLY, DAILY, DEEPLY involved in Kingdom relationships. Don’t even THINK about “Well, I’ll find something. There are good people everywhere. I’ll get involved is some good campus group and ‘attend’ somewhere ‘regularly.’” If that’s how you think of the Christianity and the Church that Jesus rose from the grave in order to bring to earth, then do whatever you want and live where you please. It won’t matter anyway. I’m serious—not playful or sarcastic about this.

If you see more of these precious matters, don’t be blinded by the world and just eat up their ways! For “college” or anything else, move ONLY to a place where there is KNOWN DAILY LIFE—self-sacrifice, confession of and dealing with Life-robbing sin, reigning Love, the living and active Word...you know, the JESUS Life! Or, if you already have this miraculous Gift available to you in your neighborhood, don’t forfeit it! You could commute from home to your job or “apprenticeship” in college! Even then, you mustn’t get so “buried” in “studies” that you neglect the reason you were even BORN!

“Seek FIRST the KINGDOM.” What is the context of that command by Jesus? All of the things “the pagans run after” will be taken care of for us by the Father Himself, IF we seek first His Kingdom. Will we live that way, or just sing pretty songs about it one or two days a week? C’mon! Let’s go for it! He truly loves us and is the absolute SOVEREIGN orchestrator of every opportunity and job promotion, every moment of health, every memory and every dream. He will keep all that’s ever been entrusted to Him! How much risk is there, really, in THAT?! : )

If all this seems a little radical to you...well, why not? Pilgrims, foreigners, strangers, aliens? “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “And then I will be your God and you will be My People.” It really comes down to priorities and Faith in Jesus, doesn’t it? Jesus violated all of the rules of social and religious order and establishment, didn’t He? And He turned out okay, in Father’s estimate. And so, also, will His brothers—those that live by the same Life and Spirit-culture. : )

For His Everlasting, Ever-Increasing Government, On Earth as it is in Heaven...from a fellow pilgrim, needing His Blood.

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