Class 32: “The Marks of a Truly Educated Man” / “Please Learn ‘Yourself’ a Little Etiquette” (Part 2)
Today, we are continuing our study which combines two of the letters in Letters to Young Black Men — “The Marks of a Truly Educated Man” and “Please Learn ‘Yourself’ a Little Etiquette.”
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Aristotle. He said, “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
A second mark of an educated man is that he is humble enough to admit his ignorance. He realizes that no matter how much he learns, he will never learn or know everything.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
Read the following verses and note what they say concerning humility.
1. Proverbs 22:4: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.”
This world seems to argue that riches and honor go to those who think highly of themselves. Think about the most popular musicians who own mansions, have their own clothing line, and drive cars that cost more than the average house. Many of their songs are all about themselves, and in interviews it quickly becomes clear that they regard their own lives as very significant. However, the Bible takes a much different stance. In God’s kingdom, those who are small are made great. The man who spends his time, money, and energy to better others rather than himself is pleasing to God. Do you prefer to live by the standards of this temporal, doomed world, or by those of the eternal, victorious God?
2. Matthew 23:12: “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Just as we discussed earlier, to go up you must first go down. A truly educated man will realize that his education will only make him intimidating and unapproachable by others, unless he is willing to walk humbly, without the slightest hint that he regards himself as more significant than any other.
3. John 13:14: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” If Christ was not too important to serve others, what right do we have to ever feel as though we are? We are on this earth to imitate Christ, and thus, glorify God. If we are unwilling to humble ourselves and serve our brothers and sisters, then we are unwilling to be the image of the saving Christ in our dying communities.
Even Jesus Christ did not regard Himself as too important to get on his knees and serve others. This is the God and Creator of the universe bent over, washing the dirty feet of those He created! Shame on us for ever considering ourselves as above certain tasks or too important to associate with particular people. If Jesus was willing to “dirty” himself by interacting with us, we have no excuse for not doing whatever it takes to serve those He places in our lives. Any reason we find for avoiding such tasks is simply a manifestation of pride, and if there is one trait that God cannot stand it is most certainly — pride. Thus, an educated man will not use his knowledge as a way to further separate himself from those who are “below” him. Rather, he will use the skills that he attained in his pursuit of higher education to make a true difference in this world. Lasting change will only occur when the educated individual resolves to live humbly and interact with those who long for change at the very most, that is those who are currently living in discomfort and hopelessness.
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.