Overeducated and Underacheiving

In our western world, we have become champions of ideas. However, somewhere in our journey, we have drifted away from reality.

Let me give you an example.

This past week I asked several high school students, “If you could get paid to do anything you wanted, what would it be?” I got two answers: to play video games and to smoke pot. Admittedly, it’s not surprising that I would get a carefree answer like that. However, it is disturbing to me that they might have lived all of their 15 or 16 years without giving serious thought to their aspirations. Instead, they plan to wander through life, hoping that things will work out and that someone more responsible will care for them.

These are the kinds of kids who will likely end up in trouble with the law. Some of them will end up costing society far more than they will ever contribute. We recognize the problem, and we immediately think, “They need more education.” We try to teach them:

  • “If you want to buy something, you need money.”
  • “If you want money, you need to get yourself a job or start a business.”
  • “If you want a job or business, you need to show up on time and do your work well.”
  • “If you get in trouble with the law, you’ll go to jail or prison, which is a generally bad course for your lives.”

But no matter how much truth we send their way, we have not managed to get them to change their lives. I dare say this generation has a greater opportunity for success than any generation in history. We are affluent and have much information at our fingertips. However, many of us are wasting away our lives. Overwhelmed with opportunity, we scarcely know where to start.

And it’s hit the church.

We have no lack of education on Jesus’ teaching about the poor. Jesus simply said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” It’s easy to agree intellectually, but if you stare this verse in the face, what do you really believe? We claim the prior verse for ourselves: “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.” And we claim the following verse: “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” But sell my possessions? Are you kidding?

Once you’ve mulled over that for a while, read Isaiah 58.

There’s a huge frustration welling up within me, because I recognize that the farther I drift from obeying what He’s taught, the less He cares about my worship.

I am loaded with excuses:

  • I need to understand the Biblical definition of the word “sell”.
  • I need someone to teach me how to preach the Gospel.
  • I need someone to show me how to make disciples.
  • I need to understanding the meaning of the word “love” before I can start loving my neighbor.
  • I also need to understand the definition of the word “neighbor.”

I can meditate on these ideas, hoping that they will compel me to action rather than make me believe that I’m doing something I’m not. Or I can step out and actually do something.

Today I make a choice.

I will choose the “do something”.

I’m listing my action points.

I’m taking action.

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