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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-124818220“For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.” - I Corinthians 4:17

Modern academic communities place a great deal of emphasis upon cultivation of the mind—often at the expense of interest in cultivation of the heart and the accompanying character formation that an older generation of educators believed went hand-in-hand with growth in learning.
While interest in a unified field of knowledge was once the goal of a uni-versity education, little remains of that earlier ideal in contemporary educational pedagogy. The interrelationship of various departments of learning such as the sciences, arts, and humanities was viewed more comprehensively, and in the case of many institutions founded in North America, accompanied with decidedly Christian convictions.  Interest in the integration of faith and learning was accompanied by an equal emphasis on the cultivation of personal piety in order to ensure the proper development of the soul and application of one’s learning in church and society that would be most God-honoring and beneficial to one’s neighbor.                                                                 

In this respect, educators in the Christian tradition recognized the pivotal role that pious example provides in shaping the life of one’s students.  Scripture teaches that, for better or worse, we become like the company we keep.  Godly example influences to godly behavior, even as wicked example multiplies unrighteousness in those it infects.  Thus the critical role that example serves in leaders of Christian campus ministries for modeling godliness to young men and women whose spiritual life and future commitments may well be determined from the example of staff they encounter while at university.

The Apostle Paul reminds us of the important role that example plays in the life of the church, and, by extension, wherever Christian leaders lead.  Just as the orthodoxy of the church’s teaching is grounded in the inspiration of the canonical Scriptures, the experience of Scripture’s teaching comes with fresh power and effect as people are convicted and converted through the work of the Holy Spirit.  The resurrected Christ’s presence pulsates through the lives of his servants; their lives bear witness to his divine grace.

Paul’s service to Christ is an easy example to which we might point; but to learn about what can be accomplished in a life devoted to Christ is only to remind ourselves that true learning in Christ will always lead to a lifestyle of transformed living in accord with Scripture—that is, if we have learned aright in our remembrance of those who faithfully ran the race before us and have now entered into their rest and reward. 

Jim Garretson
Ministry Director at Harvard Law School