Prayer. University. and Hands on experience.
I was walking to maccas with really good fish and chips in my hands.
Nothing like a good bit of fish and chips dipped in big mac sauce. As i ate such a meal-fit-for-a-king, I had the honour of chatting with two childhood friends. We had grown up in three different states of Australia. We met at church camps and because our parents were friends. And somehow we ended up living within an hour from each other.
One a graphic designer, the other a building minded interior designer (“Its more then just picking colours”)
As we talked, some things dawned on me that were then confirmed and extended upon whilst standing in the rain on top of a mountain praying for our city.
I asked a question as we walked along as street i was becoming friendly with.
‘Does university train you to think like Jesus?’
For some reason, our society is quite adamant that our children get good educations (through uni) which means good jobs, which means we can buy a house, which means we can retire comfortably.
But is that what Jesus taught us?
In university do we immerse ourselves in Gods truths about the sphere of society we want to effect? Do we get the wisdom that we need from God, or do we get it from books written by intelligent people convinced that intelligence is all we need?
Is intelligence all we need? Do we need to find security in our own hands?
I don’t believe universities do teach us to think like Jesus.
But look at the other side of the coin. My father and brother both hold Bachelor degrees in theology. Most church pastors the world over must have that, or even a masters in theology to even have their resume looked at for the job of pastor.
But does university train you to think like Jesus?
I’ve never done a degree in Stephen Richard Randall (my Dad) but i know for certain that there have been periods in my life that my thinking has been very similar to his. And presently i know that my thinking has been moulded and shaped by his.
Because for 19 years of my life I lived with him, i discussed things with him, i heard stories from him, in many ways I am a younger, less wise version of my father.
So how do we spend more time with Jesus, how do we learn to think like him?
Prayer and hands on experience.
One of the reasons i plan on living in large scale community for the rest of my life is something i am beginning to call the irritation factor. When you live with other people it is highly likely that you will get irritated at others sometimes. Even if its only because they don’t think like you. Humanity has been made to strengthen each other through our difference.
In the 23 years i lived in Canberra, not once did i decide to do something hard, that looked impossible, to grow my faith. I stayed safe and logical and secure and boring. But how much more will we learn how to think like Jesus if we put ourselves in the midst of where he was. In the middle of the broken and the lost and the hurting and the searching.
In the houses of those that society avoids, in the deserts with no food, in situation that could get us stoned – Jesus thrived because he NEEDED to rely on Gods strength and power.
Now, i believe that university can teach awesome things and empower individuals with the talents that they need. BUT it needs to be in the communal context of an adventure with Jesus. To learn of his thinking more then ‘the worlds’.
How many on fire young men and women have gone into university heaven-bent on changing the world with their degrees but end up in the same mortgage prison that most find themselves keeping them from adventure, wishing they were closer with God but not finding the time or the energy to try?
We need more prayer – more time spent with Jesus, listening, discussion, learning to think like him.
We need more times relying on Him to build our faith and not make our faith sterile with our own dreams of security.
We need to support our uni students, making sure that thats where God wants them, and not just going unprepared into the enemies playground.
The hill i stood on last night in the rain with people i love, proclaimed over the city of Newcastle that we were united and that this city is Jesus’. When Christ owns a city, it might be wise to learn how he thinks.