We Have a Lot to Learn
The pursuit of knowledge should give us a humility that stays with us our entire lives. First we learn to read and in our visits to the library we read perhaps a great many books but with each visit we see how many more books there are in just our little library that we have not read, much less mastered.
In school though we may be the brightest in our class, we know with certainty that we are not an expert in each subject in the manner of the teacher, even if our teacher is dear ole mom and dad and less expert than generalist. And so for each class we take, we know that our teachers are more the master and we are not there yet.
In college and beyond we come up against an even greater stable of thinkers—faculty who have achieved terminal degrees in their field. We know for certain that the economics professor and the humanities one have studied for perhaps a decade in just their one area of concentration.
Once we obtain a focus in our studies, in just that one area we may find ourselves in a discipline with thousands or tens of thousands of books all written by someone who has mastered just a bit of the field that we wish to study. And we are masters of none of it.
In our attempt to master a part of our field of interest we might attend conferences of like-minded individuals all of whom are seeking further knowledge in the subfield that we’re entering. And within that subfield there will be dissertations and papers that are expanding the knowledge base. Were we to know all there was to know about our one section of one field of study, that section of knowledge continues to grow daily with contributions from around the globe.
The Conclusion of All Our Learning
And yet it doesn’t humble us does it? There is always someone we can “lord” over with our little bit of knowledge. There is always someone dumber than we. Because our human nature is to build idols we are quite capable of failing to reach the obvious conclusion of all our learning: God is great and we are not.
We Americans, and even we Christians, are enamored with the pursuit of knowledge mostly because we see it as the ticket to a good life and by good life we usually mean vocational fulfillment and plenty of money. It has become a god that we pray will provide us comfort and ease and all our material needs.
And, of course, this is wrong but what if our approach to pursuing knowledge is faulty even if we don’t regard it as a god but still regard it as a means to an end?
What if we instead regarded pursing knowledge as an end goal rather than a means to an end? Like worship for instance? We worship God because He is great and worthy of praise. And that’s what true education should be: an act of reverence and praise for who God is, the Inventor, the Artist, the Poet, the Author. That’s true worship as in: “Hallowed by Thy name,” praise for God qua God. Not for anything He has done for you personally but just for Him and His glory as it has existed from before time began.
Seek and Find
Let us seek and find out more about our Holy God and His wonderful creation. Who is He and what has He done? The goal is not to be smarter but to be more in awe. Not to lord it over another but to love our Lord more and more. Not to put it in our pocket for that job interview or stop pursuing it when we have achieved our vocational goals.
We don’t stop worshipping when we reach a certain age. We shouldn’t stop our pursuit of knowledge any sooner. It’s a daily act of worship and one that should transform us into inventors, artists, poets, authors, and by doing so add more bricks to the building of God’s kingdom day by day by day.
In times past, when vocation meant more than dollars in the bank, men of God took their curiosity, their industry, their holy lust for knowledge of God’s world and they transformed countries, braved the high seas, created some of the best art the world has ever seen, expanded our collective knowledge of the earth beneath us and the sky above.
In the end, pursuing knowledge should be about seeking to know God and His world and the place to start is humbly, on our knees, with our eyes looking up and marveling at all that He has created around us.
Have you been humbled by learning about God and His creation? Talk to us in the comments below.