Education develops more than economic know-how

In “Financing Education in A Climate of Change,” Brimley et al. open their first chapter with the proposition that “education is an investment that in human capital,” noting that an educated populace magnifies the “strength of a nation.” Through appropriate education literacy is developed, various means of communication are nurtured, problem-solving skills are honed, curiosity is cultivated and students are motivated to academic excellence, civic responsibility and beneficial interpersonal relationships.

However, is human capital that contributes to a robust economy the sole reason to support and promote education? Or could there be a higher and grander purpose for the education of young minds and hearts?

I propose to you that we humans, created in the image of God, should and must develop our persons so as to reflect the mind and character of Christ and to bear the influence of the creator’s kingdom in this world. Is there any more excellent purpose than for education to point its students not only to the grandeur of creation, but also to the creator himself? We do not worship the creation; we worship the creator.

The Apostle Paul reminds us of our intended purpose in God’s economy: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16). We are here to serve his purposes, not our own. To do so requires that we grow in knowledge, understanding wisdom and skill.

Appropriate education assists in getting one closer to the goal of reflecting the mind and character of Christ and bearing the influence of the creator’s kingdom in this world.

In working with students over the years, I have been asked many times, “When am I ever going to use this?” Or, “This class is dumb because I will never use this stuff.” Have you ever expressed similar sentiments?

Consider this: In math we endeavor to train and exercise the brain to expand it so that students learn creative problem-solving skills. In English classes students are skillfully tutored by trained professionals to effectively communicate via numerous means. In science classes the wonders of the universe are laid out before a student’s eyes to see the awesomeness of God’s creation. In music and in the arts, students blossom as they are taught about creativity and creative expression, which is a direct reflection of the creator himself. We are creative because we are like our heavenly Father — “in the beginning, God created” (Genesis 1:1).

In world language classes students not only learn the language by which they communicate with others, but they also learn to appreciate other cultures of the world. In John 3:16, the apostle notes that, “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.”

In history classes one sees not only the errors, victories, progress and at times the decline of humanity, but also the providential divine hand of the almighty as he interacts with his creation.

Truly the various disciplines taught in school do far more than develop human capital; they help shape and mold the image of God in his created beings to reflect the mind and character of Christ and to bear the influence of the creator’s kingdom in this world.

Michael Frausto is pastor of Greenfield Wesleyan Church. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.