The Soul Anchor [Hebrews 6:19] - November 1, 2023
I was recently introduced to a new term, “pracademics” – short for practical academics. These are people who actually (while learned in their field) actually go out in their field and work. To me this is especially important in church work. Should the gospel be something we know or something we do? In a day and time in which we discuss the value of a college education and the high cost of education and the problem of student loan debt, I think we’ve lost an even more important question: “What are you doing with your life?” or “What are you planning to do with your life?”
I distinctly remember a time as a senior in college when many of my friends were applying to graduate school or seminary and I wondered if I should be doing that as well. I was a good student with good grades, and it would have been a natural next step to seek more education. Still, something kind of gnawed inside me. I wondered if I went down that path would I ever get off it. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t like further education, it was that I might like it too much. Would there always be another degree to pursue, more letters to add after my name until someday I knew a lot but hadn’t really done anything practical with my life. So, I took advantage of an opportunity to go on a summer mission trip to Kenya and loved it. When I got back, I got a job to be sure my student loan obligations were paid off and joined a church that ultimately recognized my desire to serve the Lord and asked me to come on the Pastoral staff. When we discussed my lack of a seminary degree, they said my position was one of training meaning that I would be learning and training at the same time. God had brought me to the right place.
Doing is an important concept in the scripture. In John 13:14-17, Jesus said,
“Now that I, your Lord, and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Jesus didn’t tell the disciples now that you’ve learned something go out and learn something else. He said now that know it; you’ll be blessed if you do it.
In the same vein James reinforced this saying,
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:22-25)
James said to hear and not do is deceiving yourself and again that the blessing is in the doing.
In the end, if we aren’t willing to do what we are learning about, why are bothering to learn about it? If we don’t practically go out and do the work of the Gospel, it will truly all be academic.