After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. (John 17:1-3)
Relate: Do you know what a college education is good for? About ten years worth of crippling debt. The way our system works, a young man or woman fresh out of high school heads off to the most expensive school their grades and academic intelligence qualifies them for. Once there, for four years they sit behind one desk after another, listening to one professor after another, soaking up knowledge in one class after another. Some of these students bounce around from one major to another as they try to find their “fit”. Others came into college with a passion for a specific thing or a dream for a specific vocation. After four years of learning all the passion has been sucked out of them and that dream has gone sour from sitting on the shelf. They still continue to move in that direction now because they believe that it is now the direction they are most qualified to head now that they must enter the “real world”.
Soon they realize how unqualified they truly are. Yes, they now have four years of textbook education behind them, but the world doesn’t operate anything like those textbooks said it should. They have a knowledge of sorts, but they are only now beginning to learn how little they know. Those four (or two, or six, or ten) years of education weren’t completely wasted. There is now this pretty piece of paper that sits framed on the wall of their cubicle that is required by many businesses that are archaic enough to still hire based on credentials rather than competency.
React: The knowledge that Jesus is talking about doesn’t come from a book. Yes, reading that book is vitally important, but if it isn’t applied all the reading in the world even from the greatest book ever is just a waste of time. The knowledge Jesus is talking about doesn’t come from a classroom so much as it does through an internship. When Jesus wanted to turn the world upside down, He didn’t call the most intellectually qualified to sit down for three years behind their desks to hear him lecture from a podium. Instead, He qualified the called by entering them into an intense three year internship. These apostles knew Jesus because they followed Him everywhere, they lived in community with Him and with each other, and they had opportunity to put into practice everything He taught and modeled.
The saving knowledge Jesus was talking about still comes about the same way. It doesn’t come from books. It doesn’t come from intellectual assent to any specific doctrinal formula. It doesn’t even come from repeating back a specific prayer. The knowledge of Jesus and the Father that leads to eternal life still only comes when we commit our lives to follow after Him, learn what He teaches and then to do it.
God, all I want is You. All too often, I find myself living in pride over the knowledge I have gained. You know me. You know how much of a danger it is for me to study and learn and read and to think that is enough. I am so much more of a thinker than a doer. I am so much more of a student than an intern. Help me to live in balance. Help me to live intentionally. Help me to step away from the desk and out onto the street so much more. Help me to live out what I have learned. I want to know You, not just to know about You, and that comes through application.