August 26, 2010
The God of Learning
"Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary."
Isaiah 46:1 (NIV)
Education is important. None of us would disagree with that. But how important is it and what role is it to play in our lives, especially as parents?
This has been a conflict for me as I have made my peace with the need for a good education for my children with my own desires for them to be "the best." While I recognize that education opens doors, I also wonder if perhaps I haven't at times fallen out of step with what God wants me to stress as a parent.
I will admit that I have valued academics over character growth at times.
A friend of mine once said, "Bible is not on the test." I asked her what she meant. She said that she always tells her children that, no matter what they score on standardized testing, she reminds them that there are things that can not be measured with grades or charts. My friend reminded me that our children's character growth and commitment to the Lord are more important than any grade, yet which gets more attention in our society?
In today's verse, Nebo, the god that burdens the Babylonians, is the god of learning. My breath caught in my throat when I read that note in my Bible. God pointed out in scripture that the god of learning burdened the people who worshiped it. I know the god of learning has burdened me during the time I have been a parent.
Whether I was a young parent making sure I exposed my child to all the right things to get them ready for kindergarten; a homeschool parent striving to provide all the right academic curriculum for my young students; or a mom of a public school kid pushing them to make the grades and try harder, I have felt the burden of making a god out of learning.
As parents we should care about our children's performance and grades. We should care about sending them to the right schools and their academic futures. But more than that, we should care about them growing closer to God. I want to give my children a hunger for His Word and ignite in them a passion to chase after Him. But as my friend said, none of that is on the test. At least, not any test the world devises.
With my eye on eternity, I can remove the burden of the god of learning by refocusing on the one true God, and helping my kids to do the same.
Dear Lord, as a parent I want my kids to know You first and foremost. Help me to keep my priorities in perspective and to not put too much stress on academics. Help me to find the balance between doing everything as unto You (including learning) and inspiring my children to follow hard after You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Learning To Live Financially Free by Curt and Marybeth Whalen
Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Character Chart and CD by Renee Swope
Visit Marybeth's blog
For more great parenting ideas, read our free resource Full-time Job
If you have children, set aside time today to read a Bible story or turn on some praise music. Praise them for the character qualities you see in them and not their academic achievements or shortcomings.
What place does learning have in your life? Has it become a god to you? To your children? How can you topple that idol in your life and put God first?
Luke 2:52, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (NIV)
Isaiah 46:7, "They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles." (NIV)
© 2010 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 26 August 2010.