Higher Education. Higher Calling.
___ posted April 17, 2012 by Genalin Niere
I don’t know about you, but I am finding more and more people who have attained much but somehow lost their soul in the process. Maybe I am noticing it more because I am currently living among some of the greatest minds in the world – Harvard, MIT, and Yale is not too far. Yet, many have fallen into the trap that Solomon so wisely warned us against (Ecc. 12:12-13). Maybe I am noticing it because there were times I struggled in my own heart.
It is easy to get consumed in our pursuits, even ones that we feel called to. Somehow the One who called is slowly and subtly squeezed out in the pursuit of the calling. Yet, in the midst of struggling to balance life, one thing I knew in my heart – I could not live life without God. All my pursuits would be meaningless without Him. It would all be vanity as Solomon said. In the busyness of graduate school I would often return to the verse, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matt. 16:26). I did not think I would lose my salvation but it made me think about the cost of our pursuits, including “godly” ministry pursuits, when done without God. Is there anything worth more than our relationship with God? Did you take notice of the subtle difference here? It is not only living life for God but with God.
As thankful as I am about finishing this degree, I sense so much more meaning behind it than the mere accomplishment of attaining a doctorate degree. To be honest, that does not seem satisfying in itself. What is more fulfilling is how God will be able to use this degree for His purposes. That is the higher calling, not just a mere higher education. As I face this milestone in my life, a verse has been stirring in my heart that sums up this journey well - “Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth” (Psalm 73:24). At the end of it all, my heart desires God more than anything else. Higher education did not just grow my mind; more importantly, this journey grew my heart.
Whatever you are pursuing in life right now, do it with God. It makes the difference between living out a life that is meaningful or just vain pursuits.
In less than three weeks, I graduate. Five years. It seemed so far away during my first two years. Maybe doable by the third year. Fourth year had flickers of light. Now, I see a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Five years. Needless to say, I have been in a reflective mood. It is a mixed bag of experiences. Lots of growth. Lots of struggles. Lots of joys. Lots of sadness. Lots of gains. Lots of losses. Somehow, I made it through...but only by the grace of the One who first called me on the journey. I am not just saying that. Really, it is true.