Hidden Nuggets Series #54 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” – Luke 2:52
I’m wrapping up my series on college this week with a rather odd question, something that a high school junior or senior might be asking – “Should I go to college and does God care?” Mom and dad sure have made it clear they think it’s important as they’ve been pounding the table for months to get those applications finished. What about God? Does He even have an opinion on college?
To those with no religious inclination this may seem silly. Why consult a higher power at all about a non-spiritual issue like whether to or where to attend college? I understand that line of thinking.
However, for those like myself with a relationship with God it’s huge for several reasons.
Should I Go to College?
For starters, I believe that God is wholly invested in my life. He is not a nebulous essence that floats around the universe, unknowing and uncaring about what I am experiencing. He cares for…check that – loves me deeply and desires the best for my life.
Because of this factor, I can count on Him for wisdom. One of my favorite Bible verses is James 1:5 which reads,
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
That’s a promise from God that He will supply us with wisdom when we ask for it. It’s a guarantee…God does not break His promises.
With that promise in hand, why wouldn’t we ask Him for help in making this or any decision? After all, the decision to attend and where to attend college is one of the biggest decisions a young person can make. It could define the rest of their life.
Jesus was a learner
God’s son Jesus came to earth and experienced a life much like you and I. He had parents, brothers and sisters, helped his earthly father Joseph in the family carpentry business and was involved in ministering to others. He also learned, most likely in the Jewish school system of the day.
We know this because of verses like this one in Luke 2:52,
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
In this verse, we see three reasons how personal growth and development (i.e. learning) helps us:
1. It increases our wisdom. Through the learning process, we gain experience and knowledge, which hopefully in turn produces better judgment.
2. It builds our stature. As we learn and express our abilities and knowledge, we develop a reputation as having achieved in a particular discipline. Our standing and importance grows in the eyes of others.
3. It produces favor. When we implement our wisdom and our stature grows, favor is produced. We gain the approval and satisfaction of others because we’ve provided them with something of value or helped them solve a problem.
This relates to the “Should I go to college?” discussion in this regard – Has a young person’s wisdom, stature and favor with others been sufficiently developed by age 18? From reviewing my own life and the lives of high school students I’ve touched through the years, I believe most teens would answer “No” to that question if they were being honest.
The accumulation of wisdom, stature and favor has a direct impact on the success level one might find later in life. That’s a fairly compelling argument for continuing your education post-high school.
College Is a Tossup for God
I can’t find a verse in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt attend college.” It’s not in there. So only you can decide the direction God is leading. And, believe it or not, that path can be determined by following some basic steps:
1. Start thinking about college early. Realistically begin thinking about college by 16. Dwell on it. Dream about it. Picture what it will be like. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin thinking about it. A rushed and uneducated decision is a poor one and spells doom.
2. Be honest about your ability to excel. It’s a big sign if you hate high school and don’t like to learn. Avoid pushing a square peg into a round hole. It will never fit.
3. Get wise counsel from trustworthy people who are not your parents. Parents are the #1 stop for advice. You should trust them the most. However, seek out other trustworthy people in your circle of connections. They’ll have perspectives you haven’t considered.
4. List the pros and cons. This always helps me when facing a big decision. Seeing items listed on paper often brings me the clarity I’m searching for.
5. Visit schools. Get out there and put your feet on campus. Walking on campus sidewalks and through buildings will help stir up some feelings. I eliminated several school choices just by being on campus.
6. Pray. Make this a routine habit. As mentioned earlier, ask God for wisdom and clarity in making this decision. He will not turn a deaf ear to your requests.
When you engage in the process by following these steps, God will provide a peace about your specific decision. It may be hard to understand how that peace is being generated. But in that moment it will be obvious what God wants you to do. Then it will simply be up to you to follow through.
Does God care if you go to college? Maybe. With His help you can find an answer to that question.
Questions: What answers have you been receiving when asking the “Should I go to college?” question? Was it hard for you to figure out whether to go to college? How did you finally make the decision? Do you regret your college of choice? What other steps can help in this process?
Prior Post: 20 Flexible Part Time Jobs For College Students