Another Brick in the Wall

In a 2005 nationwide survey, parents were asked what their most desirable outcomes for their children were. By far the top-rated outcome at 39% was getting a good education.

Consequently, in 2007, nationwide poll among 13-17 year-olds, academic performance is by far the most commonly mentioned source of stress.

Why is this the case on both accounts?

I would venture to say it goes back to the same ol’ causes of stress among the human race. Because if you break down this equation you will find that the rationale behind this stress is: Good High School Education = Good College = Good Job = Good Money = Food, Shelter & Clothing.

Jesus dealt with the same stresses among his followers, and during the greatest sermon every preached, he called for the void of stress and worry from “the basics” while walking the kingdom-oriented path versus the worldly-oriented path. He states:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6)

So in some ways, for a parent to have an inappropriate idolatry towards good education (causing worry and stress among themselves and their children) betrays their faith in God, and poisons their commitment to Christ.

[NOTE: There is a difference between caring for education and worrying over it. But when parents place education and good grades as the top priority for their kids (instead of formation to God’s will & mission), it communicates a lack of faith that God is in control and will provide all their needs.]

Is this imbalance accurate? If so, how should we respond as followers of Christ within a society bent on trusting in education as the magic bullet for “success” versus a sovereign God? What difference should we exhibit?

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~ by Dave Smith on May 31, 2008.

5 Responses to “Another Brick in the Wall”

  1. the more interesting question here is how do you ever communicate this to parents without losing your job as a youth pastor?

  2. Leave youth ministry and then come back as a guest speaker to say the things you would normally get fired over. Isn’t that how Campolo started out?

  3. When are you going to write a post on Moses…What a Guy!?

    Maybe with some cool clip-art?

  4. What does that mean? You lost me on that one!

  5. Ahhh…man I just got that! That’s real low Rich!

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