It's difficult for an academic to see God. I didn't say it was impossible, only difficult. We get so puffed up with our own knowledge, opinions and thoughts that the world appears to become a concrete place and the knowledge of man far superior than ever before. It's also because we have a short memory and fail to learn from our past. Many of us believe that man is de-evolving instead of evolving. We make the mistake of thinking of technology as our advancement but technology is only a tool. That tool appears to be in the hands of a race of people who are coming unglued at the seems. So often people claim that a pursuit of academics will free the mind and open us to many possibilities. I find that it does the opposite.
I am not knocking academics. Considering that I am a principal in a parent-funded Christian school, I consider the pursuit of expanding our knowledge and understanding to be of vital importance. However, there is one element of education that we seem to quickly forget:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
So many drop the thought of God as they get puffed up on Man's knowledge but the fact is, it all begins and ends with God Jehovah. Forgetting that is like forgetting there is a nose on your face. The existence and involvement of God in our lives is clear for those who choose to see clearly, but denial is also a very powerful tool.
There is a reason Jesus prayed this prayer of thanksgiving:
I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. (Matthew 11:25-26)
Notice who Jesus spent most of his time with. Also notice to what family he was trusted to. As well, take note that he grew up in the region of Galilee where nothing much was ever expected to come from; no scholars, no prophets, no great men at all. This was the region of farmers and fishermen, common folk, hard workers, people who did not operate by theory but by the practical, every day view of life. These were the ones who were totally dependent on God for their livelihood. These were the ones who knew that life was bigger than they were. These were the ones who readily believed that God had sent his Son to save them. They made up the bulk of the disciples, the women who supported Jesus came from here, and Jesus praised the Father for doing it in this manner.
We should realize that there is a plan in place and it is not our plan. As much as we want to come up with a way of advancing the Kingdom it is the Father who has designed all of this and it is he who is advancing it. We need to let go of our ideas and get into his stream of thinking and doing. We would be much more productive if we were to operate according to his will. Listen to the plan:
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)
Now add to it this Scripture:
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)
The teaching is much greater than this but I give you these tidbits to get you started on understanding this truth. It is true that the Father desires everyone to be saved but he knows that there are certain types of hearts that are prepared to believe and others that are closed to him. Sometimes we are so foolish to believe that it is our words and our actions that brings a person to salvation. Salvation belongs to the Lord. It is his work. The Father draws people to the Son and it is the Son who reveals the Father. Sometimes we are used as tools and instruments, we are given words or actions to take, but we possess nothing to convince anyone of anything. To take credit for someone's salvation would be like the mixing bowl taking credit for the cake. That aside, our Father continues to draw those with hearts that are open to him.
I am thankful for those who minister in the academic world. I am thankful for ministries like Campus Crusade. I am thankful for the churches ministering among the better neighbourhoods. However, I also mourn the loss of the churches who move away from the city centers, who move out of the rougher neighbourhoods, who give up on those who appear to be lost. These people are no worse than the finer neighbourhoods except for the fact that the finer neighbourhoods have learned to keep their sins behind closed doors. The finer neighbourhoods are actually less open to the Father's call. The only reason the rougher neighbourhoods don't respond is because the tools used for calling them have moved out.
As Jesus ministered he did not concern himself with the social graces of the time. He was not looking for respectability. He simply knew who would be more receptive to the Father's call. It didn't mean he did not minister with the more affluent. He still went to the big social parties and he spent time with the Pharisees but we can also see how he was treated. Why are we not willing to recognize this in our day and age. When William Booth decided to move the church from the building to the streets he soon discovered that no respectable church would accept these new Christians from the street. He had no intention to start his own church but he was left with no choice. And guess what happened. The people came in droves and thousands were introduced to the Father, Son and Spirit. Where is Jesus operating today?