North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose by Matt Dobson

Back to School Edition

A school teacher decides to give a 20 question pop-quiz to her class. One of the students decides to toss a coin up in the air. Heads means “True”; tails means “False”. Twenty minutes later he’s done, well before the rest of the class. But then, the student starts flipping the coin again. And soon he’s swearing and sweating over each question. The teacher confronts the student, “Don’t you dare talk like that in my classroom. What’s the matter with you?” asks the concerned teacher. “I’m rechecking my answers,” says the student. While this certainly is a creative way to take a test, it’s not the sure pathway to a passing score.

School bells will be ringing again soon. It’s that time of the year when students and teachers dust off the textbooks and boot-up the computers. Family taxi’s plot their route of dropping off kids and picking them up at the end of the school day. Routines are established with hopes that everybody gets where they need to be. Schedules can get hectic. But, it’s worth it, right?

God expects us to apply ourselves when given the opportunity. For students, it’s important to understand a trained mind, coupled with a simple purpose to serve Christ, gives you unlimited potential! The Bible is very clear when it comes to increases in your book knowledge. II Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that doesn’t have to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The Bible often speaks of being a good steward of what you have. And believe it or not, this does include your mind and the lessons you have learned. With so much emphasis on immediate gratification and obtaining worldly possessions, it helps to remember what God says is top priority. God’s Word says: “If you cry out to know right from wrong, and lift your voice for understanding; if you look for it as silver, and look for it as hidden riches; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find what is known of God” (Prov. 2:3-5, NLV). Getting an education and gaining knowledge, going to school, or participating in job training makes you a better student and better laborer.

As a young person, you owe it to yourself to learn as much as you possibly can, for yourself, not for anybody else. You are accountable for yourself. Don’t depend on others to “spoon-feed” you. For some children, teens, and young people the opportunities don’t come easy. Gary Bauer, of the Family Research Council, says, “We are in a social, political, and culture war. There’s a lot of talk in America about pluralism. But, the bottom line is somebody’s values will prevail. And the winner gets the right to teach our children what to believe.” Therefore, parents and guardians should take their responsibilities and authority more serious.”

As a little boy, I can remember my Dad quoting Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This was the first time I had ever heard of the word “knowledge”. He knew it was important for me to “get it” to have success. I found the Lord and was saved at eight (8) years old. Ever since then, it’s been one hard lesson after another. Fall down, get up, fall down, get up…to this day I’m learning more about myself, my weaknesses, my strengths, my motivations, what things I need to hang on too and what to let go. This is life. And this seems to describe the journey of most people.

While this world is in a chaotic state and a place where the rules of our educational system often change; conflict can be a primary agent of creativity and innovation. The youth of today are very street smart because of the cultural exposure of controversial topics. There is definitely a culture war taking place as we speak. True wisdom is at stake! It’s next to impossible to shield youth from all trouble and negative influences. And perhaps we should not try too. This is not a liberal progressive thought, for the positive side of that fact is that people don’t learn by staring into a mirror or from being locked in a room. People learn by encountering differences and difficulties.  Studying to learn is the way to success—not the easiest, but certainly the most noble and honest. Short cuts and cheating tend to make one soft and unprepared on “test day”—academically speaking and in life. Studying is a lifelong proposition. The sooner you learn how, the greater your chances of success on every level of scholastic achievement.

A person can study to gain prominence in their field, or qualify for higher salaries. There’s nothing wrong with these motives. In the final analysis, neither of these should be the primary motive for a believer. It’s the approval of God, not that of man, that counts for eternity. It’s the studying that makes for a prominent Christian. And a prominent Christian is in position to bring much glory to the Lord. “Study to show thyself approved unto to God”. It’s this that will last when the salary increases and the applause of men have ceased.

Whether you are a student in elementary, middle, or high school; college, vocational, or have finished academics altogether; you are specifically chosen to use your education right where God has placed you. You have a purpose. Your education, together with your sincere commitment to the Lord, can be an unbeatable combination. God is not dependent on educational degrees. Use what you learn for God’s glory. As you do this, you will find that education, plus dedication equals 100% effective Christian service. Pray this school year God will make your studies and training an asset that will be the means of winning someone to Him.

  •       This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at
Posted by on Aug 19 2012. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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