Finding One's Way in the World

Is College Really Necessary?
Our culture seems to consider college a no-brainer. You just go whether it makes sense to or not. I went, and I'm glad I did. But not everyone does, and many people who've chosen a different path have been very successful.

Still, it's really hard knowing how to encourage people who've chosen a different (i.e. college-free) path in life. Encouraged or not, God watches over them and helps them survive like the sparrows in the Sermon on the Mount.

My Journey
As I contemplated these things I realized that my own journey wasn't exactly textbook. I grew up in a Christian family, but it was in my freshman year in college that I really gave my life to the Lord. I was doing work study in the college's paint shop and working for a devout Christian. 

This man had no college degree, and did not try to convince me to quit college. But his example got me thinking. If he had no college degree, did I need one? I decided that the answer was no. I quit college--financial aid package and all--and spent two wonderful years mowing lawns and washing dishes, living communally and generally trying to live for the Lord.

Then God ended up leading me back to college. Why?

How God Provides
For all people, God's provision tends to involve putting a tool in our hands with which to get at what we need.

That tool can take many forms. Many people go to college to get college degrees so that they can get a good job. God provides the resources and the time for them to do that. It's still part of the life of the sparrow, since they are taking what God provides and using it to get at the food He's laid out for them.

In the case of those who've chosen not to go to college, God has put a different tool in their hands. I admire this college-free tool because--well, mainly because it's different. It often involves an outsized personality, extreme creativity or an amazing skill working with one's hands. I admire all of those things.

What Our Culture Does to People
Not knowing God or how He provides, our culture has decided that nearly everyone needs to go to college. Period. When someone rejects that path, many of us look askance at them. Being looked askance at is hard on anyone. We need to be careful not to sow unbelief with our words and attitudes.

As computers and robots take over more and more of the jobs many of us rely on for provision, people who've chosen a different way may find themselves in the enviable position of having discovered paths that are difficult for computers and robots to emulate. Mix those unusual paths with faith and you have a winning combination.

B.L. Jenkins

(c) Copyright B.L. Jenkins


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