Higher Education

by Howard Bean

In this article I aim to promote higher education! Is higher education something you desire to acquire and experience?

I'm impressed with the nerve of one man who attended college for decades. When he was a youth, a wealthy relative had bequeathed him money sufficient for his needs. It was given to him annually as long as he attended school. His income was to come to an end as soon as he left school. But he took advantage of the will and stayed in school continually until he died at age 63. The degrees after his name looked like the alphabet.

However, learning which truly represents higher education is found in Yahweh. "The wisdom that is from above" is higher education in it's ultimate sense (James 3:17). It is good to join in the aspiration of the songwriter, "Higher, higher in the school of wisdom--more of grace to know."

Educators sometimes speak of objectives or outcomes. James 3:17 identifies eight outcomes of higher (heavenly) education: "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).

1. Purity. Man's wisdom may lead to sin, but Yahweh's wisdom leads to holiness and purity. Yahweh is holy; therefore Yahweh's wisdom produces holiness. In contrast, human "wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish." To illustrate, the newspaper I receive recently reported on a large local university rated number one in Canada, stating that first year students specialize in alcohol and sexual promiscuity. Technology applied to education has not elevated the ethics of modern education. We have, as Thoreau said, "improved means to unimproved ends." There are few things as tragic as the combination of high mentality with low morality. Purity has priority in heavenly wisdom. This wisdom is first pure. The songwriter has it right with the words, "More purity give me." The world's education aims for good mixers; divine education produces good separators.

2. Peace. Human wisdom brings rivalry and conflict, but divine wisdom brings peace--not peace at any price, for the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable. The peace of Yahweh's people is not more important that the purity of Yahweh's people. Yahshua is the source of true wisdom and true peace. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27). What people around the world need is a peace conference with the Prince of Peace.

3. Gentleness. Human wisdom teaches me to take a tough, assertive what's-best-for-me approach. Yahweh's wisdom teaches kindness, forbearance, and unselfishness. Gentleness features moderation without sinful compromise. A gentle follower of Yahshua may be called "velvet steel."

4. Reasonableness. A person who is easy to be entreated will be approachable, willing to listen, open to change his mind to agree with truth. He will yield to righteous persuasion, not being dogmatic, stubborn, or conceited. A follower of Yahshua should not be a person who slams his mind in your face. Alexander Pope said "Narrow-minded people are like narrow-minded bottles--the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out."

5. Mercy. The wisdom from above has the objective of compassion and forgiveness. Full of mercy implies being controlled by mercy. Forgiveness from others is charity; from Yahweh, grace; from oneself, wisdom. In 1946 Czeslaw Godlewski was a member of a young gang that roamed and sacked the German countryside. On an isolated farm, they gunned down ten members of the Wilhelm Hamelmann family. Nine of the victims died, but Hamelmann himself survived his four bullet wounds. After Godlewski completed a 20-year prison term for his crimes, the state would not release him because he had nowhere to go. When Hamelmann learned of the situation, he ask the authorities to release Godlewski to his custody. He wrote in his request, "Messiah died for my sins and forgave me. Should I not then forgive this man?"

6. Fruitfulness. Yahweh's program of higher education is not just academic but is very practical. Divine wisdom in the heart expresses itself in the life.

7. Impartiality. This calls for forgiveness and consistency in working with and relating to others. The world's wisdom teaches one to aim for the inner circle and to be exclusive. A follower of Yahshua should be a friend of all, free from prejudices.

8. Sincerity. The follower of Yahshua should live without a mask, without hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is like a pin--pointed in one direction and yet headed in another.

Stay enrolled in Yahweh's school of wisdom so that you can truly experience "higher education."

"Higher Education" by Howard Bean from COMPANIONS, November 2000. Copyright 2000 Christian Light Publications, Inc., Harrisonburg, VA. All rights reserved. Used by permission.  Hebrew names restored throughout.



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