“Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. The people were surprised when they heard Him. “How does He know so much when He hasn’t been trained?” they asked. So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.”
We have become so enthralled with education that we have almost put half of America out of work. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was a high school English teacher for 13 years and I thank God for that opportunity to help grow those young adults into knowledgeable men and women. I even headed up the counseling office that helped them get through all the necessary testing and led them through the maze of available higher education options so that they would be ready to go further in their learning.
Higher education is definitely a good start on making it in our world today; and many countries know that America has some of the best educational opportunities available and send their brightest students here to study. I am proud of America for caring enough to encourage a good education.
What I am not so proud of is how we are often limiting the called of God in our quest to only recognize a degree as the standard for speaking to and leading God’s people. So many of our churches are missing out on great, God-called teaching because their first requirement for a pastor is a seminary degree. The call on a person’s life to speak God’s Word should come from the Holy Spirit and not from a man-designated requirement. And if the elders, deacons or committee of the church are truly called by God to their position, they will recognize the call on the person they are interviewing. They will see if they are getting knowledge responses or Holy Spirit led responses to their questions. But wait, what questions should they ask? What should we truly be looking for in a preacher or speaker or pastor?
First and foremost is, does this person’s life portray a desire to follow Christ’s example? Do they reflect the grace that God has given them through Christ’s sacrifice? Not, have they never committed a sin, but do they live a life of humility because they know they are sinners saved only by the grace of God.
Second, where do they feel they have received the most learning for their lives? If they respond with a list of degrees, then it tells me that their knowledge is top priority over the Holy Spirit leading them what to say.
Oh, I know the we have to have certain guidelines for choosing our pastors and leaders for the church, but so often we, like David’s family, overlook those truly called by God to lead His people. Next time you feel led to ask someone to speak or preach, ask the Holy Spirit to show you if this is of Him instead of asking to see their diploma.