Education That Brings Success
A WORLDLY saying of much wisdom relates: “All that glitters is not gold.” Sometimes it is interesting to remember this when men give way to much boasting. And have you ever heard of such boasting as is evident in this twentieth-century “brain age”?
Men are highly respected for sake of degrees they hold from great universities. Among nations, scientific achievement, particularly along military lines, rockets those with the greatest “know-how” into positions of leadership.
Yet what can be said for the harvest this age has reaped? Its two world wars do not stand out as great intellectual achievements. It is difficult to see the wisdom in the mass global fear caused by the inventions of modern science. Do the children, as claimed, reap the benefit of the most progressive learning of all time? Juvenile crimes are more outstanding than ever. High school narcotic rings steal the headlines. As the Bible warned, widespread ‘disobedience to parents’ has paralleled the high tide of youth woes. (2 Tim. 3:2) And what of man’s loftiest study, knowledge of his Creator? Godlessness through evolution and communism runs wild. “Trial marriages” are seriously considered and the collapse of family life lurks nearby.
When very similar conditions prevailed in the ancient land of Israel, when it was riddled with ‘cursing, lying, murder, theft and adultery’, Jehovah God assigned the cause, declaring: “The LORD has a quarrel with the inhabitants of the land; because there is no fidelity, no kindness, and no knowledge of God in the land.” (Hos. 4:1, AT) What would you give as the cause for these same evils in the modern world?
In the first place, just what does this “wise world” accomplish with its much boasted wisdom? True, great nations can store their resources, then conduct global aid programs to less fortunate peoples. With their knowledge of engineering, men can blueprint mighty structures, blast their foundations out of solid rock and scrape the sky with their pinnacles. They can draft large armies and equip them for daring exploits behind skilled commanders. Yes, and they can inherit thrones or be elected into political offices, dwell in palaces and exert much influence. But are all these things so much? If these are the sole measurements of success, then man is still little ahead of the insects and lower animals.—Prov. 30:24-28.
Ironically, this world’s learning seems to operate in reverse. A child of four or five asks who made the flowers. Told that God created them, he believes it because he reasons that he cannot duplicate them with his little hands. This and other things he learns. He is taught to respect God’s great power, to pray to Him and to feel safe because God is able to defeat all evil. But later on the same child grown older falls into the clutches of college professors who proceed to shred away this simple faith, forcing him to give it up to satisfy the greedy appetite of the evolution theory. Gone then, too, his sense of security, and the young man becomes part of a sea of humanity living in dread of atomic war or some other form of mass annihilation. After seventeen or eighteen years of “education” he finds he knows less than at the age of four or five!
So some may suggest that parochial education is the answer. But not so. Consider the “church states” prevalent in Latin America and the degrading immorality and mass ignorance marking those poor peoples. Even in the United States, tests indicate that “Sunday school” education has not taught a practical knowledge of God’s Word. To the parents of His typical nation, Israel, God commanded:
“These words you must learn by heart, this charge of mine; you must impress them on your children, you must talk about them when you are sitting at home and when you are on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. You must tie them on your hands as a memento, and wear them on your forehead as a badge; you must inscribe them on the door-posts of your houses and on your gates.”—Deut. 6:6-9, Mo.
Similarly, the apostle Paul admonished Christian parents of the first century to ‘go on bringing their children up in the discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah’. (Eph. 6:4, NW) Of course, such training must be accompanied with proper parental examples in Christian teaching and living. The harvest for such course will be another life devoted to learning of God and publicly helping friends and neighbors to do likewise—truly a helpful contribution to the world.
“Is that any way to become successful?” the scoffing world will challenge. Would the scoffers consider Christ Jesus successful, then? Evidently not, yet his teaching has introduced the only means of salvation to everlasting life in a new world open to mankind. Note what his apostle, Paul, taught: “Did not God make the wisdom of the world foolish? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not get to know God, God saw good through the foolishness of what is preached to save those believing.”—1 Cor. 1:20, 21, NW.
And by “the foolishness of what is preached” will those who survive the coming world crisis be preserved for life in God’s new world. To help all those who would win this goal of true success, the good news is phrased simply for them, but backed with the power of God’s Word. The experience of the apostle Paul proves this wise.—1 Cor. 2:1, 4, 5.
Certainly it was in God’s power that Jesus taught, when he spoke as no man before him had (John 7:46), carrying on Christian education from city to city, village to village, house to house and in public places and wherever a crowd could be gathered. (Luke 8:1; Acts 20:20; Luke 5:1-3; Matt. 5:1, 2) Also, he and his followers patiently instructed in private homes and answered Bible questions. (Matt. 9:9, 10; Luke 10:38-42) The book of Acts brims with such experiences.
This vital activity of Christianity has not vanished. In the year 1950, Jehovah’s witnesses, Christian ministers, spent more than 54,000,000 hours in this same kind of work world-wide. They conducted over eighteen and a half million return visits upon interested parties and held 234,952 home Bible studies. Evidence of their success lies in ever-increasing throngs of new ministers, new hearts made glad, persons with a new world hope of everlasting life. This way of learning for true success yet remains open to encourage still others.