I am convinced that Christian parents, pastors, church leaders and educators need to understand the basic essentials that must be the foundation of all of their efforts to educate their children and youth. This article continues to identify and unpack four essentials that I introduced in last week’s post. These essentials must be a part of every educational effort in the home, church and school. If they are not at the foundation of our educational efforts, we may be giving our children and youth a false education.
I will not expound on this essential as I have already addressed this key topic in three other posts recently. I encourage you to go back and read What Do Our Children Need To Know?, The Importance of Knowing God, and Want To Know Yourself? The key point we need to keep in mind regarding this educational essential is that man was created in the image of a relational God who wants to have a personal relationship with each person. Education must strive to lead students into a greater knowledge of God. This drive to get our children to know God must be an intentional and ongoing effort in the home, church and school if it is going to have an eternal influence on our children and youth.
When I was growing up, anytime I heard someone talking about the need for a person to hear and obey God’s call, it was always related to going into full-time ministry. I grew up thinking that God’s call is only to those He wants to become a preacher or missionary. If you didn’t enter one of these types of ministry, then you never received a call from God.
I now know that God calls every person in one way or another to something. This is because God has a purpose for every person who is born into this world (Psalm 139:13-16). If God has a purpose for every person, then it makes sense that He would let each person know what that purpose is. Knowing God’s purpose for my life is actually a call of God on my life.
In his 1828 dictionary, Webster defines a call as giving notice to come by authority or as a command to come. Another meaning of this word carries with it the concept of the appointment to a duty. Another definition of Webster was that a call was something that causes one to know, believe and obey. With these definitions in mind, let’s look at this educational essential in more detail.
To be “called” requires that there is a “caller.” Os Guinness once said, If there is no Caller, there are no callings — only work. Within the relationship of God and man, God is the “Caller” and man is the one “called” and God calls everyone to something. Therefore, our efforts to educate our children must be centered on the essential of leading them to discover God’s call on their lives.
There are two types of calls that come from God to man. The first call is a universal call that God gives to every person on earth. This could be referred to as a call to life which takes place at birth. God calls all men to Christ or to salvation. Scripture clearly states that God wants all men to be saved.
…you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,…To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints… Romans 1:6-7 (ESV)
…who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:4 (ESV)
This call to life is a call to enter His kingdom and belong to Christ. Pastor and author Tim Keller explains that this call is a call to a restored relationship with God and with other people and with the world around us. It reminds us that the call to a particular kind of work is secondary to the call to belong to Christ and to participate in his redemption of the world. This call to life involves all of life. It encompasses all of a person’s being and doing.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (ESV)
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
His work of redemption can occur in any and every workplace. This universal call to life will affect how we accomplish a particular call to a vocation. We know that we are saved by faith but for what purpose? The purpose can be seen in these words written by Paul.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 1:10 (ESV)
- love where there is hate
- peace where there is conflict
- beauty where there is dreariness
- truth where there is falsehood
- good where there is evil
Miller goes on to explain how God calls us to reflect His nature in a lost world.
- Because God is love, we are to love friends, neighbors and enemies.
- Because God is just, we are to pursue justice in a corrupt world.
- Because God is compassionate, we are to extend compassion in a broken world.
- Because God is true, we are to speak truth in the face of lives and live trustworthy lives in a world of betrayed promises.
- Because God is beautiful, we are to bring beauty into our society.
How does God’s call on a person’s life fit into the education we give our children and youth? I believe we would all agree that education involves the preparation of our children and youth for something in the future. The question becomes what are we preparing our children for when it comes to the education we give them? This question is applicable to the education that takes place at home, in the church and at school. Unfortunately, most of the education being given to our children only prepares them for more schooling!
Elementary education is designed so that our children can be successful in middle school. Middle school is basic training for high school. High school is where our children’s studies really count. This is because every subject counts toward graduation requirements. But what are those requirements aimed at? They are requirements that the student needs to be able to get more schooling — get into college. One of the devastating results of this type of emphasis in education is that the child never begins to mature and have any understanding of God’s call on his life until well into his college years.
It is essential that the education we give our children emphasizes that God has a specific purpose for their lives and this purpose cannot be understood without first knowing that God has called them to life in Christ. The education we give our children must not only lead them to understand God’s universal call to all men to follow Christ, it must also help them understand how they are to fulfill this call as Christians living in a broken world of relationships. Once they know and answer this universal call from God, they can then be led to discover God’s particular call on their lives. We will address God’s particular call to a vocation in next week’s blog.
The question that begs an answer today is: Does the education we are giving our children at home, church and school lead them to discover God’s call to follow Christ, beginning at birth and continuing through elementary and secondary school?