Class 34: “The Marks of a Truly Educated Man” / “Please Learn ‘Yourself’ a Little Etiquette” (Part 4)
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 H.G. Wells. He said, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
Another mark of an educated man is that he uses his education and knowledge for wise and good purposes. Of course, he uses it to generate a living for himself and his family. But not only for that, he also uses it to help others who are less fortunate than himself.
Sixth, to me, one of the greatest marks of an educated man is the ability to express himself clearly through his speech and through his writing.
Then, an educated man is a disciplined man. A disciplined man is willing and able to “do the worst first.” He is willing and ready to tackle the difficult jobs and tasks even when he does not feel like doing them.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
Notice what the Bible says about using your knowledge and abilities to help others.
In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus tells the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ who stopped and helped a man who had been robbed, beaten, and left to die by the side of the road when a priest and a Levite (religious leaders of that day) refused to help him. Jesus said this “Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”
Just like the Good Samaritan, we are to help those in need. Also, in God’s eyes, just barely assisting someone will not suffice. We are to go above and beyond for the sake of the gospel. Please do not allow your education to make you like the priest or Levite who saw themselves as too important and their agendas as too demanding to help this dying man. An education does not place you as more significant than anyone, but rather makes you more responsible for lending a helping hand.
II Corinthians 8:1-4 says, “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”
Higher education also provides you with the skills necessary to positively impact the work God is doing all around the world. It enables you to think creatively and attempt to do amazing things for the Lord. Also, attaining a higher education will likely result in increased finances. This money is not only beneficial for assisting the poor and needy, but it also can significantly impact the work of those in full-time ministry.
A truly educated man will not simply hoard the benefits of his education, but will intentionally look for ways in which he can impact the Kingdom. These will include providing assistance for both the needy and the saints.
Discipline is also a mark of a truly educated man, and the Bible has something to say about this as well.
Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”
One does not acquire self-discipline by accident. You must actively pursue discipline and other good character traits. Attaining a higher education will require significant self-discipline as will living a life of learning. Begin now to discipline yourself to do those things which may not be easy or fun, but which will make you a stronger, smarter individual in the long run.
I Timothy 4:7 says, “Refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.”
A life of godliness must be tirelessly sought after. Simply attending church once a week will not cut it. To be Christ-like, you must constantly discipline yourself to ignore the desires of the flesh and pursue only those things which are pleasing to God. Choose to live a righteous life and then be disciplined enough to see your commitment through.
A truly educated individual realizes that life is not always going to be fun and easy, but that true growth and accomplishment comes from overcoming obstacles. Do not settle for the shallow life. Seek depth and be willing to deal with the “dirty stuff”. Only then will you truly be able to appreciate the opportunities that God has given you in this life.
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.