When we think about work, there are many different aspects that are worthy of being examined. I would like to take the time now to probe only two of them that are very pertinent to classical Christian education.
First, when we think about the work of education, I think that Spurgeon summarizes better than I ever could the mission and vision of our school:
“Do not think Christians are made by education; they are made by creation.” – Charles Spurgeon
Indeed, as a school, we are aiming at each one of our students being a Christian. And education is not the power of God unto salvation: the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is. Consequently, as we are seeking to provide each of our students with a robustly Christian way of thinking about all that they are being taught, we are ever seeking opportunities to share the Gospel of God’s grace with them. As Spurgeon again noted, “if Christ is not all to you, then He is nothing to you;” and as we do the work of teaching at Pinnacle Classical Academy we are desperately reliant upon the work of the King of Kings towards our efforts. For if His effort is not the source and drive of our effort, our efforts will forever be in vain. But, if His effort – His work – is our source and supply, then the labor in which we engage – desiring that Christ be formed in each pupil we have been given – is a worthwhile venture.
This brings me to the second facet of work which is critical to our school: that is, human labor must be viewed as a gift from the Lord which is to be engaged in for His glory and for our joy. We must begin with God’s work in salvation as the bedrock of our ventures in education, because a God-given perspective on work as a whole can never originate from man. Work was given by God to Adam and Eve before the fall of man, and it was only after the Fall that all of our work became cursed by the effects of sin: struggle, sweat, thorns, and fruitlessness are all products of sin and not of His initial creative action. So we must, as Christians in education, be about the business of leading our pupils to have spiritual, Christ-centered eyes towards work. Work is a gift from the Lord for human flourishing, and to continue in it, even through the sweat and thorns, is to receive the greatest joy for our souls: satisfaction not ultimately in our labor or its physical fruit, but in Jesus the Christ. And we must be diligent to help our pupils – and ourselves – not to be deceived into making a trite statement that work is good for us. It is critical that we labor in prayer and the Word to fashion our understanding of our experiences in light of His glorious promise: in His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.
So, whether we are pulling the weeds in the garden, working diligently through reading the next sentence, counting to one hundred, or laboring through the mire of each increasingly complex logic or Algebra problem, each and every effort is conforming us into the image of our God: the most joyous being in the universe! And to that hope, we strive to think – and to teach thinking – rightly about work.
Excelsior Ad Dei Gloriam!