I have just realized a categorical mistake I have been repetitively making every time I tell a young person if they don’t buckle down to their schooling they won’t get a good job. By stating this, I am equating the reason for education to obtaining a good job by which one can make a living.
I am reading a book by Dorothy Sayers in which she addresses the issue of our fallacious idea that the reason we work is to make money. Employees often speak of their rights without realizing their obligation to work for works sake and to do their work well. “The fallacy being,” Sayers writes, “that work is not the expression of man’s creative energy in the service of society, but only something he does in order to obtain money and leisure.”
Often times, people choose a career based on what will be the most profitable financially versus following the dream God has placed in their heart for their contribution to others. Thus the doctor is taking care of the sick because it is profitable to do so instead of out of his desire to bring healing to the suffering. The lawyer isn’t doing his job because he is committed to justice, but because it makes good money. The school teacher isn’t teaching because he loves equipping a generation, but because he can put up with the job to support his family.
Education should not be seen as a means to gainful employment, but a means to becoming equipped to contribute in a meaningful way to one’s society. Thus the modern focus on skill based education is way out of place for education was never meant to be equipping for employment.
I recently saw a 700 Club episode about the
Sayers writes, “If man’s fulfillment of his nature is to be found in the full expression of his divine creativeness, then we urgently need a Christian doctrine of work, which shall provide not only for proper conditions of employment, but also that the work shall be such as a man may do with his whole heart, and that he shall do it for the very work’s sake.”
We should work at what we love because God put that love for a certain role in society in our hearts. One of the ways you can tell if you are working at what He has given you to do is that it is what you would do if money were not an issue.
Also we should encourage education, not because of gainful employment, but because it is good for the person to be a well educated self-thinking individual. Even if we are not in formal education any longer we can always be learning and sharpening our thinking.