Community. Conversation. Connection.

What about Education?

Katie Davis is certainly learning from her experiences as a missionary and a mother, but what about formal education? Isn’t she missing out because of this lack in her life?

Here are her words,

This doesn’t have a lot to do with what Katie talked about in this chapter, but I think it’s an interesting topic for discussion.

Do we emphasize a formal education more than we do following God’s call?

There is certainly nothing wrong with having a college education. I have a BA in secondary English education, and while I have not taught English since then, I have used the skills I learned there in both my personal and professional life. I knew though that I was doing what God called me to do when I got the degree.

Our culture, even many Christians, elevate education to this mythic place. The thought is often conveyed in one succinct sentence: knowledge is power. We believe that the more knowledge we accumulate, the more we will control the world around us and increase our effectiveness.

The problem is, we don’t see that anywhere in scripture. In the view of the Bible, we don’t know anything until we first act on it. The most famous stories of the Bible start with a person God chooses when the world would passed them by. He tells them to do something that doesn’t make a lot of sense. As they trust with faith and action, they move into godly wisdom.

Nowhere does it mention a two-week class, a five-hour seminar, or even a six-week sermon series. None of those things are bad, but if they don’t translate into helping us fulfill what He called us to do, we waste precious time.

I would propose that some people are never meant to go for a higher education. It has nothing to do with desire, but everything to do with what God is speaking. You may or may not have the desire, but if He called you to it, He will grace you to walk it out.

Knowledge may be power in the world’s system, but it means little in God’s Kingdom. He desires wisdom and He’ll even impart it to us if we set our focus on His reverence and honor.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. –Proverbs 9:10

What are your thoughts about this? Why do you think we push so hard for higher education?  Do you see this differently than I do?


This is part of our book club discussion on Week 15 of Kisses from Katie (disclosure) by Katie J. Davis and Beth Clark. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, add it in the link widget below and be sure to check out the other entries. Also head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for another great take. Whether you’ve read the selection or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.

18 Comments

  1. I choose Higher Education -- as in that which comes from God.

    I have a degree in Spanish Language and Culture and minors in religion and computer engineering. I am also a certified Microsoft Engineer -- woohoo!

    But none of that means anything without God. They are just pieces of paper stuck in a drawer somewhere. He has brought me to where I am and given me the wisdom needed to succeed as His child.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Working With all Our Heart in It.My Profile

    • He provides the highest education! Amen, Dusty. Thank you.

  2. I think our society pushes college. While it is necessary for some professions, it is not required for all.

    I think the key is seeking what God wants from you, praying about it and following the path God directs. Otherwise you end up with two completely unrelated college degrees like me!

    If only I had followed my own advice all those years ago!
    TC Avey recently posted..Going Through the Sea of Fear and DoubtMy Profile

    • God is able and caring so He will definitely direct us. Even if we’ve walked down other paths, He still uses it all for His glory! Thank you, TC.

  3. A student of mine right now is looking at pursuing his Mdiv after graduation. He just recently received his financial aid packet and will have to take out about $20,000 of loans each year for the 4 year program. It’s kind of disgusting to both of us that in order to be a pastor, you have to take out $80,000 in loans and strap yourself with such a heavy burden of debt, when most people start as youth pastors or pastor of small churches making next to nothing. I definitely believe pastors need training, but that seems almost unbiblical to me to take on that kind of debt just to preach.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Developing our StrengthsMy Profile

    • Wow, that’s a great point. I don’t have an answer for it, but yeah, doesn’t seem right. I don’t have a degree in church ministry or anything like that, but it’s what God called me to do. I guess it depends on where you want to pastor and what God’s calling you to. I don’t think at the moment that I’ll ever get my degree, but I never say never.

      Thought provoking, Jason. Thanks.

  4. Jesus didn’t go to college. Peter didn’t go to college. Abraham didn’t have a stack of initials behind his name. Noah built the ark without having any formal training in carpentry or engineering.

    I have a degree. And I’m glad I got it. But I don’t think I’d be less of a person without it. Honestly, I learned more about life and ministry by the relationships and experiences I had than by anything I heard a professor say or studied in a textbook.

    Great points, Jason! You’ve got great thoughts here!
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Called to LoveMy Profile

    • Like I said, not a lot to do with the chapter, but I did think it was an interesting conversation! :) I’m with you, Sarah. I’m glad I have my degree and it has served me well in certain areas, but I was following God then like I’m following now. Just gotta trust Him! Thanks so much.

      • Oh, I don’t think it’s really off topic. My goal each week has been not to summarize or focus on what Katie’s focus was on, but to take the nugget that spoke to me and share it. And I’ll have to say that I’ve gotten more out of it by doing it this way for this particular book. And I’ve had some really interesting conversations this way. Interestingly, most of my interesting conversations have been via DM, email, or this week, Facebook. (Feel free to drop by my wall to where I posted this link and join in my convo there. You probably have some great insights to add!)
        Sarah Salter recently posted..Called to LoveMy Profile

        • I do love how God will do that. He takes one avenue and opens it up so that it can explore so many others. I will definitely go check out your Facebook page! Thanks Sarah.

  5. His call…to school, to work, to family, to missions, to pastor…it’s all His call if we are obedient to Him. I have three in college and I have told them to do their best to finish BUT if they hear God move them in another direction, I will support that decision. Like Jesus, I want them to do the will of the Father first and foremost.
    Jay Cookingham recently posted..My Birthday GiftMy Profile

    • Parents understanding and modeling this is so important! I’m with you. If my kids need certain education to do what God has called them to, I will push them lovingly in that direction. I also know I have to trust God with them and He is able to lead as we give them the foundations of their own relationship with Him. It’s a beautiful thing! Thank you, Jay.

  6. I think two of the main reasons are financial security and knowledge.
    When we learn more, we can adapt to almost any position, thus increasing our job security to a point, because we can move from job to job.

    But God often always has another plan for us. When I was going to college for my Graphic Arts degree I was hoping to make a decent living. What I didn’t know is that I wouldn’t be making a living at all, at least not how I imagined I would be.
    Ed recently posted..Silent Women? No Way!My Profile

    • You’re right, that’s why we do it, but then does it really provide those things? Ultimately, it’s an illusion and there are so many variables at work. Even the security we gain for a while can be removed in an instant. If God provides for us and makes room for us through our gifts, we have nothing to fear and no reason for anxiety. It may not be easy at all times, but He is with us.

      I’m with you too. I never really imagined I would be doing what I’m doing today, but I know God is leading! Thanks so much, Ed.

  7. I fully believe in higher education, it’s an opportunity to make a bigger stamp in life, I loved my experience my dream as a kid was to go to ORU it hasn’t happen yet but I have schooling in photography and loved every moment of it ! It made my vision bigger after going to see some of other’s work. One of the highlights for me in college was the chance to substitute teach for my instructors a few times. And where talking about lessons plans and not let them build a paper airplane hour. That skill I learn helped me break my fear of speaking in public. But I want to share something years ago that Phillip Mohabir shared with us kids he told us to get our higher education first before we go to the mission field and bible school. Cause those so called stupid people the media portrays in Africa are not stupid. They are smart and they make our american brains look like clay. And its true today just last week one of our missionaries we support said that one of the new trends in Missionary work is getting your masters in something cause most countries will not allow you in unless you have a job and most jobs over seas require you to have a masters or some higher education level.
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • Exactly, if you need the education to do what God has called you to, then we need to go for it! I love your point about ‘stupid’ people in other countries. That is just silly. Great points, Andrew. Thank you.

  8. Jason--I also have (HAD until last June) a degree in Early Childhood Education, minor in English and a Teaching Credential. I taught for 20 years. Now I’m ‘just’ an assistant….no such thing, I realize.
    Two things--just because someone has a Masters in Education or extra certification in a subject still doesn’t mean they’re a good teacher. This grieves me, because in the field of Education these are both a Very Big Deal, and frankly, experience counts for a lot more in my book (I’ve been in the classroom now for over 25 years. Learned a lot more about teaching when I actually got here.)
    For a ‘calling’--this is a hard one--my son graduated from a Seminary here in the Northwest and is a Garden Manager at a large chain store. He is feeling very strongly that he needs to go back for his Masters Degree to do what he wants--Music/Worship Pastor. The reality for him is that he probably wouldn’t get a position without it.

    My brother, on the other hand, (Our pastor--Foursquare) never completed college or Bible School of any kind, but has had a call on his life since he was 5; he’s been pastoring almost 30 years.
    Excellent question--now ‘real’ answers--everyone needs to follow what the Holy Spirit says is right for them--which I think is your point. :-)
    God bless you!

    • That is exactly my point, Jody! And I love the three different experiences--everyone trying to follow God and none look the same. It’s a diverse Kingdom for sure. Thank you for this great comment. Blessings to you too!