College Education

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

A lot is being written today about our American system for college education. Many suggest that we are not educating enough young people in the fields that will really be in demand in the future. For this reason some companies are outsourcing good jobs to foreign students.

Many young people go to college with wrong motives. Some pick a college because of the football team and weekend activities. Probably the biggest motivation for going to college is to get a degree in order to have a better job in order to make more money. We live in a culture that seems to measure people by the kind of job they have and how much money they make.

It has been interesting just reading about some of the people who are getting college degrees this spring.

The most interesting college graduate to me is Gac Filipaj, who recently graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree.

Gac is a janitor at Columbia University. He is a refugee from the former Yugoslavia. He decided to exchange his mop and bucket for a cap and gown.

He is 52 years old. He took classes for 12 years at the Ivy League school. He first had to learn English, then he progressed to ancient Latin and Greek. He would study late into the night because he didn’t finish his janitorial work until 11 p.m.

Now that is determination! I would suspect that he received a lot of ridicule and jokes from some of the people when they saw him doing his janitorial work. But that didn’t bother Gac. He wasn’t doing it to impress people – he was doing it as a personal goal. He even says that he may pursue a master’s degree.

But Gac makes it very clear that he did not get a college degree nor will he pursue a master’s degree in order to get a better job and make more money. His education was for his own personal achievements and to enhance his ability to help others. It is not for making more money.

Gac says, “The richness is in me, in my heart and in my head, not in my pockets.”

The best reason for education is not to make more money but to be a more informed person who can think more creatively and act more ethically. Education is about making a life – not making money.

One day Jesus encountered a very rich man. He probably had degrees from most of the schools of that area. He said he was ready to make his life count. What would it take? Jesus told him that he had his values in what he possessed not in what was God’s purpose for him. Jesus gave him a new education when he said he needed to give away what he had earned in order to follow Him. (Luke 18:18-25)

Jesus also encountered a successful farmer. For him life was about filling up barns, then building bigger barns. Jesus reminded him that life was not about accumulating more things, but rather reaching out to more people in need. Read the warning Jesus gives. Luke 12:16-21

How are you using your education? What is your motive for getting more education? Education is extremely important – if we pursue it for the right reasons and use it to accomplish the right goals.

Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, went back and completed his college education and received a degree. There are several cases where people in their nineties are graduating from college.

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