K. KENDALL MATTHEWS: God is the best educator

Sunday, September 12, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Learning is a lifetime fundamental to experiencing new and different things around us. I recall one of my experiences at Greenville College in little old Greenville, Ill.  Now this was a Christian college where I was requested to sign a lifestyle statement and commit to living a clean, Godly life.

Returning to the Christian foundation that my parents exposed me to was what I needed to be taught again in a community of Christ-like people. You see, I had gotten off track a bit, and my style of living needed to be changed from partying to praising Jesus in his place of worship.

Greenville College was the school for me to continue my educational development, combined with learning more about my relationship with Jesus. Sometimes, we become a student again in the eyes of God and be like a dry sponge that is ready to absorb the flowing knowledge of God. The words of David in Psalm 32:8 say, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” We have God’s promise that he will teach us what we need to know, if we yield to his teachings found to the Bible, through his son, Jesus Christ. There were others who positively influenced my learning experience at GC, and they believed that my life is a terrible thing to waste.

One such person was my social worker professor and adviser Dr. Jones, not to be confused with Indiana Jones. She encouraged me to work at The Salvation Army Camp in Wisconsin. There I would work with inner-city youth from broken homes, and they would experience the open air, outdoor living. This was a new opportunity to me to learn outside of the class room and apply the book knowledge to practical. God calls us to a higher learning process which goes deeper into our heart and flows through our daily walk with him. As we put into practice the biblical standards found in the word of God, we must be willing to learn a little more about ourselves and go the extra mile with the master, and then, I believe, he will teach us something new that we hadn’t known before. If God is asking to learn something new, don’t argue with him but accept his teachings and put your trust in him. 

Learning to live for Jesus is a pilgrimage that takes a lifetime, with many ups and downs, highs and lows, and joys and sorrows. Let’s live out our journey with Jesus knowing that he has promised to always be by our side through it all. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Learning from God, school is always in session, every single day of the week, with no timeout.

The great thing is that God is teaching and leading us into an eternal pasture of spiritual knowledge that can lead to living a healthier life here on earth. I believe that God is the creator, preserver, professor of all things in heaven and in earth. His instructional hand has power to keep those you love on the path of knowledge that can pilot their soul to eternal life. Now, that’s the type of education we all can benefit from.

God is our endless educator. I think he’s the type of educator that tells it like is, and sometimes we have trouble handling the truth. He is teaching us what we need to know to live a life of service and of salvation in today's society. As a salvation soldier, learning God’s teaching is responding to his voice without resistance but with an openness to learn something new about us and Jesus. Let’s be willing to be taught by God, to put aside any preconceived notion and to consider the possibility that God just might be taking us in new directions, earning more than a degree but an education from God’s word has eternal value that will stand the test of time. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness.” II Peter1:5-6.

I am glad many years ago at Greenville College, Dr. Jones encouraged me to work with inner-city youth and to step out of my comfort zone and gain a new learning experience. Moreover, I am thankful God has taught me and continues to teach me what I need to know about myself and the people he has placed in my care throughout mid-Missouri. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18. Now, I encourage you to allow Dr. (JC) – Jesus Christ to teach through his life lived here on earth recorded in the book we call The Holy Bible.

Major K. Kendall Mathews is the regional coordinator for The Salvation Army.

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