Four Mistakes I Hope You Don't Make

INSIGHT Graduation

Twin Cities, MN

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(The Bethlehem Institute offers one year of college for freshmen or sophomores called the INSIGHT Program.)

Summary

From the intro:

I don’t feel excited when I hear a question like: “You want to be a firefighter? Why are you in college?” “You want to be a homemaker? Why are you in college?”

We’re in school to see a whole panorama of life that comes out in all manifestations of disciplines in the hope that all these beams of light refracted in human minds will lead us to the source of all things so that we know him better.

Every time I send Talitha off to school—she’s in the 5th grade—I try to remember to connect for her what she’s about to do today with Jesus. And not in a superficial way like, if you know this fact it might be useful in witnessing, though that’s true and wonderful. But rather, if you study math, you’re going to know God better. I promise you. As you advance through the complexities of math—from 5th grade to Calculus—you will find out things about the nature of the mind of God that you would not get any other way. It’s the same thing with the way language works. Same thing with processes in history. Same thing in politics and social studies. And art.

So thank you so much for believing that and not being too worried about what you’re going to do when you grow up. You know, I went 4 years to Wheaton, 3 years to Fuller, 3 years to graduate school and at age 28 did not know what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I just knew a few central realities: I love the Bible. I want to use it to help other people obey it for Jesus’ sake.

That leaves open a lot of possibilities!

So you know what I did? I took the first job that was offered to me. Then I took the second job that was offered to me and I’ve been here ever since.

So I’m here to try to share a little wisdom. And I could care less—as long as it’s not sin—what vocation you use this wisdom in.

Mistake #1: Big is better than small.

God uses little David-like people to accomplish huge Goliath-like things because he is jealous to get the credit.

Don’t worry about big. Worry about faithful.

Mistake #2: New is better than old.

Read old books. You need the wisdom of the ages to combat the folly of the present.

When you read books from today, don’t read first and mainly books by emergent writers. Read books first and mainly by old men—J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul—men with long battled years who have learned not only from the Bible and from books, but from life.

In school, it doesn’t matter what you major in. Just find the wisest teachers and take everything from them.

When great changes happen, it's not from new ideas. The reformation was a great leap forward precisely by going backward.

Mistake #3: Having is better than being.

There’s no correlation between the fullness of life and the muchness of having.

Don’t reduce your education to acquiring marketable skills. Study to become and behold, not to be rich.

Mistake #4: Visible is better than invisible.

The most important things are not visible. God is invisible and he is the greatest reality of all. If you structure your life around sight, it will be out of touch with reality.

Do not be much interested in outward appearance. Be interested in inner realities.

From the conclusion:

If God is God—and he is—small with him is better than big with anybody. His old things are better than anybody’s new things. Being his child is better than having the world. And better to be blind with the invisible God than to see everything without him.

©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org