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Learning in Wartime

Why do we learn? When we see suffering around us, when we look at the millions of unsaved in the world, and when we falter at the immense weight of studying, we wonder why we are in school at all. What use does our education have if the world needs to hear of its Savior? Why don’t we abandon everything we have and go out on the streets to help and serve others?

We don’t because by staying in school and gaining an education we will have the ability to make a greater impact than if we were illiterate and unlearned. For with education comes social prowess and (hopefully) wisdom that enables us to serve others better.

C.S. Lewis speaks directly to the worth of education in his sermon “Learning in Wartime.” During the next week or so I’ll be examining his argument for education:

A University is a society for the pursuit of learning. As students, you will be expected to make yourselves, or to start making yourselves, in to what the Middle Ages called clerks: into philosophers, scientists, scholars, critics, or historians. And at first sight this seems to be an odd thing to do during a great war. What is the use of beginning a task which we have so little chance of finishing? Or, even if we ourselves should happen not to be interrupted by death or military service, why should we — indeed how can we — continue to take an interest in these placid occupations when the lives of our friends and the liberties of Europe are in the balance? Is it not like fiddling while Rome burns?

Fiddling while Rome burns. Fiddling while people in Japan are suffering. Fiddling while a bus crashes into a pole and thirteen are killed. Fiddling while neighborhoods in New Jersey and Connecticut are flooded. Fiddling – while a world needs the gospel.

God has called each of us for a specific purpose. If we aren’t being used now, He will use us in the future. And it is now that we must prepare ourselves, by equipping ourselves with knowledge, so that when the opportunity arises we can be ready to help.

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