Class 27: The Obstacles to Getting a Good Education / Graduating from College and Still Ignorant and Unlearned (Part 2)
Today, we are continuing our study which combines two of the letters in Letters to Young Black Men — “The Obstacles To Getting A Good Education” and “Graduating From College And Still Ignorant and Unlearned”.
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Steven Silbiger: “The best possible investment you can make in your future is an education. Even if you default on your student loan, nobody can repossess your diploma.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
Your second obstacle to obtaining a higher education is the ever present lure of immediate money and gratification. This is a temptation. For example, you may have a good paying job right now and you don’t want to leave it to go to college or you don’t want to cut back on your hours so that you can go, at least, part-time. I recall, upon my graduation from high school, my parents wanted me to go on to college at Gardner-Webb College in North Carolina. However, I was too short-sighted, and, frankly, too foolish to take their advice because I had this restaurant job in high school that offered me a new job as trainer and assistant manager for new restaurants that were opening up. In my view, the money was good, so I opted for the fast money and the fast lifestyle of partying, women and drinking — immediate gratification. However, thankfully, by the grace of God, I came to my senses and began the higher learning process, and became a college graduate later.
My friend, you will learn in life that you must postpone gratification to reach for something far more important and valuable. One great preacher of the past put it this way:
You cannot offer up the future on the altar of the immediate.
Of course, he is so right. I hope that you will learn this great lesson early instead of later.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
We have already seen how to overcome the first major obstacle in gaining higher education — yourself. Now, let’s look at how to overcome the second major obstacle — the ever present lure of immediate money and gratification.
Read the following passages and note what they say about immediate gratification.
1. Colossians 1:10-12: “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Possessing patience and enduring through life’s temptations are two marks of a true sold-out follower of Christ. He who is able to set aside his own desires in order that God’s purposes may be accomplished on this earth, will one day receive the greatest treasure of all — admittance into the Kingdom of God. Are you living as one worthy of the same inheritance of the great Christian leaders of the past? Or, are you so caught up with what you want and when you want it, that God’s desires seem to be the last thing on your mind? Brother, if you truly desire to be great in the end, I suggest you make yourself humble now. Note what the next verse says about this matter.
2. Hebrews 6:12: “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
There is no place for laziness in the Kingdom of God. There are too many lost souls, which are dying and going straight to Hell, to possibly rationalize sitting at home and doing nothing to spread the Gospel. Likewise, God’s lost sheep are too important to Him, for you to simply spend your time and money doing only what meets your immediate desires and simultaneously claim you love the Father. A man cannot love both himself and God. He must love one and despise the other. Which will you choose?
3. Galatians 5:16: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
While this verse is dealing with our fleshly desire to sin as opposed to the Holy Spirit’s desire for us to do right, it also provides a compelling commentary on immediate gratification. Just as we should not sin to gratify the desires of our flesh, we should not always do those things that are easy and provide a quick reward at the expense of those things that are difficult and provide an even better reward months and years down the road. A job opportunity may look good because it will provide quick money. However, it may not be wise to take that job when you could complete your college education and get a better and higher-paying job down the road.
Now, Just Do It.
To complete today’s lesson, write down your long-term educational and employment goals. Beside each goal, write down the estimated length of time it will take you to reach those goals. Pray, and ask God to give you the fortitude and discipline to pursue those goals and not get sidetracked.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.