Monday, January 24, 2011


This last quarter, I had the privilege of earning a Certificate in Youth Ministry from Fuller Seminary. I have loved books since I was a kid - I can't count how many nights I fell asleep with my bedside light on, a book of some kind in my hands. (Actually, the light was on because I was afraid of the dark until I was in junior high school, but that's a different blog post.) But since I've come to more deeply surrender and yield all of my life to the lordship of Jesus, my love for learning and knowledge has been fueled for the sake of being of greater usefulness to the Kingdom of God.

But seminary so far hasn't been a cakewalk - one of my favorite teachers of all time, Professor Hurst, used to refer to seminary as "cemetary - for the faith of many is buried there." One of the most subtle and difficult things that I have to struggle against in my own life is making seminary into a purely academic pursuit - learning for the sake of learning, albeit about things of God. It's easy for learning and acheivement to become an end in itself, which is a dangerous place to be.

To that end, I came across the talk that Francis Chan gave at the Desiring God National Conference this past year, and he really hit on the heart of the balance that we need in pursuing knowledge and wisdom while growing in love and into the likeness of Jesus. Paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 13, where it says that if we can fathom all wisdom and knowledge but have not love, we are nothing, he said, "some people in this room can be brilliant and worthless." If our knowledge of God is not knowledge the equips and mobilizes us to love others, it is not a "treasure stored up in heaven," but a treasure stored in places where it can and will be snatched away when our minds fail us - a sobering thought!

If you're in seminary or thinking about, I recommend carving out some space to listen to Francis, and I'd love to hear what you think. I don't want to be brilliant and worthless, and I know you don't want to be either. See you soon!

"Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God." (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)

No comments: