Class 29: “The Obstacles to Getting a Good Education / Graduating from College and Still Ignorant and Unlearned” (Part 3)
Welcome to Class 28 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.
I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum (M.Div, Truett Theological Seminary) and Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary). This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.
— Let’s Pray —
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 Dr. Addie Mitchell:
“If you plan for a year, sow a seed;
If you plan for a decade, plant a tree
If you plan for a century, educate the people.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
The fourth obstacle will be finding the right college. Every college or university is not necessarily the right institution of higher learning for you. There are some colleges and universities that “teach you why.” Then there are colleges and universities that “teach you how.” And then there are colleges and universities that “teach you why and how.” For the sake of common sense, please try to get into the college or university that can teach you the “why and the how.”
A good way to determine whether or not a college is a “why or how” college is by examining the kind of people the college produces.
The students who come from the “why school” and the students who come from the “how school” will normally have the following characteristics: They have that locked in, locked down mentality (commonly called the slave mentality.) This mentality is bent on working for somebody for thirty years, retiring, and then dying with nothing. In my opinion, these people do not carry the edge of what I call inside knowledge.
The students from the “why and how” college or university on the other hand, will normally have the following characteristics: Independent thinkers, innovative, entrepreneurs; they may work for somebody for a little while, but their aim is to be in charge of their own business or what have you. These kind of folks will normally rise to the top more quickly than the rest of the pack. They will have their eyes on being free and doing their own thing. They have the inside scoop — the inside knowledge.
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 three major obstacles in gaining higher education: (1) yourself, (2) the ever present lure of immediate money and gratification, and (3) your friends. Let’s see how the Bible sheds light on the issues of finding the right college and finding the money to pay for college.
Hosea 14:9 says, “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”
The Lord knows exactly what your talents and interests are, and He also knows the specialties of every college in this world. He is able to lead you to the very best institution, but you have to be willing to follow Him. According to this verse, those who are righteous, or those who are striving to live holy and pure lives, walk in the ways of the Lord. If you are following His footsteps, there is no way you will pass by the college of choice unknowingly. So, the real question does not have to do with the actual school you should attend, but rather, it has to do with whether or not you are living in righteousness and obedience to God. Are you willing to go where God is leading you to go despite your own desires?
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Rest in the fact that the Lord loves you dearly and has amazing plans for your future. If you are seeking direction from Him, He will give it to you in due time. Pray that the Father would reveal to you which college best fits into His plan for your life, and then be obedient to follow His answer.
Now, let’s look at the issue of finances. This is important for anyone attending college. Here are a few ways you can pay for your college education:
1. Pray and ask God for the money.
2. Work part-time.
3. Ask well-off family members to support you.
4. Attend a junior or community college that is cheaper but provides a quality education.
5. Aim for a scholarship for good grades.
6. Apply for federal student aid.
In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus Christ says, “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
God knows about every single need in your life. The fact that He cares for the flowers in the field and the birds in the air is only a partial example of how dearly He cares for you. God cares about your education even more than you do. He can and will provide a way for you to attend college if that is His will for you. These verses say that we are only to seek first the Kingdom of God, and He will take care of all the rest. Since getting an education will likely prepare you to be a more powerful witness for the Lord, you should seek after that wholeheartedly, and allow God to fulfill His end of the promise. Do not worry about the future. Simply choose to walk in righteousness today, and trust God to provide the finances tomorrow.
Now, Just Do It.
Spend some time researching colleges in your area or colleges that have full-fledged online degree programs. Begin to make yourself familiar with the different options that are available, and begin to brainstorm on what your talents and skills appear to be. If you are already attending a university, examine your attitude toward learning. Are you using this God-ordained time in your life responsibly? Is God receiving the glory in your studies and in your relationships with your classmates and teachers? If not, pray for forgiveness and choose to change your attitude toward learning. If so, pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God for blessing you with this amazing opportunity of receiving higher education.
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.