How much do you value instruction? I am sure it comes as no surprise that education is expensive. In 2011 Federal, State and local governments spent on average a combined $11,000 per student. The cost of college is even higher with public colleges charging an average tuition of nearly $12,000 per student [include government subsidies and the per student cost is nearly $23,000]. As you can imagine, private college education is even higher averaging a whopping $45,000 per student!
Expensive you say? Yes, but not as expensive as spiritual ignorance!
Solomon exhorts his son in today’s proverb to not only value instruction, but to seize and guard it with his life!
Proverbs 4:13 – “Take fast hold [seize; bind] of instruction [correction; discipline]; let her [instruction] not go [forsake her not]: keep [guard; watch] her [instruction]; for she [instruction] is thy life [living; quality of life].”
Notice that the nature of instruction is more than the dispensing of knowledge [facts and details]; it also embodies correction and discipline. Herein is the failure of education in America.
I grew up in an America when teachers were respected, revered and confident they had the support of parents [in fact, it went without saying whatever discipline you might suffer at school, the penalty would be doubled when you got home]! Times have changed—but not for better!
Broken, dysfunctional homes have produced a generation of undisciplined young people who have little respect for authority. Combine that sad reality with the threat of lawsuits and you have an educational system where teachers and administrators lack the authority to give a well-rounded balanced education that includes both lecture and discipline.
For application, I ask you to ponder a few questions regarding today’s proverb: When does instruction end? When are you “too old” to learn?
Too many Christians have the attitude they are above instruction and resent correction—no matter how loving or well intended. Unlike teens that are brazen with their rebellion, many adults have the same spirit and attitude, but are subtler in expressing their rejection of both instruction and correction. With the heart of a loving shepherd, I urge you to examine your heart and put your attitude under the spotlight of the following verse:
Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they [keep] watch for your souls, as they that must give account [to God], that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Spiritual instruction is not limited to youth; it is for all ages and when heeded promises a good, rewarding life.