December 20, 2005

Learning From the Greatest Educator

1550 page14 capHE HUMAN MIND IS SUSCEPTIBLE of the highest cultivation. A life devoted to God should not be a life of ignorance. Many speak against education because Jesus chose uneducated fishermen to preach His gospel. They assert that He showed preference for the uneducated. Many learned and honorable men believed His teaching. Had these fearlessly obeyed the convictions of their consciences, they would have followed him. Their abilities would have been accepted, and employed in the service of Christ, had they offered them. But they had not moral power, in face of the frowning priests and jealous rulers, to confess Christ, and venture their reputation in connection with the humble Galilean.

He who knew the hearts of all understood this. If the educated and noble would not do the work they were qualified to do, Christ would select men who would be obedient and faithful in doing His will. He chose humble men and connected them with himself, that He might educate them to carry forward the great work on earth when He should leave it.

Christ was the light of the world. He was the fountain of all knowledge. He was able to qualify the unlearned fishermen to receive the high commission He would give them. The lessons of truth given these lowly men were of mighty significance. They were to move the world. It seemed but a simple thing for Jesus to connect these humble persons with himself; but it was an event productive of tremendous results. Their words and their works were to revolutionize the world.

1550 page14Jesus did not despise education. The highest culture of the mind, if sanctified through the love and the fear of God, receives His fullest approval. The humble men chosen by Christ were with him three years, subject to the refining influence of the Majesty of Heaven. Christ was the greatest educator the world ever knew.

God will accept the youth with their talent, and their wealth of affection, if they will consecrate themselves to him. They may reach to the highest point of intellectual greatness; and if balanced by religious principle they can carry forward the work which Christ came from heaven to accomplish, and in thus doing be coworkers with the Master.

The students at our college have valuable privileges, not only of obtaining a knowledge of the sciences, but also of learning how to cultivate and practice virtues which will give them symmetrical characters. They are God?s responsible moral agents. The talents of wealth, station, and intellect are given of God in trust to man for his wise improvement. These varied trusts He has distributed proportionately to the known powers and capacities of His servants, to every one his work.

The Giver expects returns corresponding to the gifts. The humblest gift is not to be despised or left inactive. The little rivulet does not say, I will not flow along my narrow channel because I am not a mighty river. The spires of grass do not refuse to grow because they are not forest trees. The lamp does not refuse to give its little light because it is not a star. The moon and stars do not refuse to shine because they have not the brilliant light of the sun. Every person has his own peculiar sphere and vocation. Those who make the most of their God-given opportunities will return to the Giver, in their improvement, an interest proportionate to the intrusted capital.

The Lord does not reward the great amount of labor. He does not regard the greatness of the work so much as the fidelity with which it is done. The good and faithful servants are rewarded. As we cultivate the powers God has given us here, we shall increase in knowledge and perception, and be enabled to comprehend and value the immortal life. Those who have abused their God-given privileges in this life, and have been content with their ignorance, having their minds completely occupied with subjects of trivial value to themselves or others, will not comprehend personal responsibility, subdue evil tendencies, and strengthen high resolves for a purer, higher, holier life.

The youth should be learners for the next world. Perseverance in the acquisition of knowledge, controlled by the fear and love of God, will give them an increased power for good in this life, and those who have made the most of their privileges to reach the highest attainments here will take these valuable acquisitions with them into the future life. They have sought and obtained that which is imperishable. The capability to appreciate the glories that ?eye hath not seen, nor ear heard? will be proportionate to the attainments reached in the cultivation of the faculties in this life.

Those who will empty their hearts of vanity and rubbish, through the grace of God may purify the chambers of the mind, and make it a store-house of knowledge, purity, and truth. And it will be continually reaching beyond the narrow boundaries of worldly thought, into the vastness of the Infinite. The justice and mercy of God will be unfolded to the moral perceptions. The grievous character of sin, with its results, will be discerned. The character of God, His love manifested in giving His Son to die for the world, and the beauty of holiness, are exalted themes for contemplation. These will strengthen the intellect, and bring man into close communion with the Infinite One.

This article first appeared in the June 21, 1877, edition of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (now the Adventist Review) at a time when the young Seventh-day Adventist Church had just one college?Battle Creek College, founded in 1874. Today the denomination operates 101 colleges and universities worldwide, serving more than 92,000 students. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.