Wonder. Too much learning is merely instrumental -- to get a good grade, a good job, a little prestige. And much learning is certainly instrumental -- to solve a problem, to reach a goal, to benefit a community. These are more selfless goals. In my experience, however, learning comes alive when it is not merely a means to an end. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom -- or so the Proverbs remind us over and over again. Awe and wonder before God, and in the playfield of all that God has made, adds a depth and richness to learning. Sadly, much about our own education has wrung the wonder right out of us. It isn't too late to find it again.

It may seem strange to think about the connection between the Holy Spirit and academic work. I don't think this connection is at all strange. In fact, I think that God's Spirit loves to connect people to truth, and to the one who is the source of truth and wisdom and knowledge (John 14:6; Colossians 2:3).

 

This reflection first appeared at The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness. Donald Opitz (Ph.D., Boston University) is associate professor of sociology and higher education at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous articles and has worked as a pastor as well as a campus minister.