12 June, Wednesday – What Degree Do You Have?

12 June 2019


2 Corinthians 3:4-11

Before God, we are confident of this through Christ: not that we are qualified in ourselves to claim anything as our own work: all our qualifications come from God. He is the one who has given us the qualifications to be the administrators of this new covenant, which is not a covenant of written letters but of the Spirit: the written letters bring death, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the administering of death, in the written letters engraved on stones, was accompanied by such a brightness that the Israelites could not bear looking at the face of Moses, though it was a brightness that faded, then how much greater will be the brightness that surrounds the administering of the Spirit! For if there was any splendour in administering condemnation, there must be very much greater splendour in administering justification. In fact, compared with this greater splendour, the thing that used to have such splendour now seems to have none; and if what was so temporary had any splendour, there must be much more in what is going to last for ever.


Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’


All our qualifications come from God

I work in a university and we are doing our level best to shake up the higher education landscape with a different pedagogy – one that focuses on applied teaching and learning. Since I joined the institute in Feb 2010, I have been privileged to be part of its evolution and transformation, albeit with the strong support of our far-sighted government. It is a journey that encourages learning and unlearning, and this will not stop even as we prepare to move into a brand new campus in 2023.

Over the past few years, the debate about the paper chase and how universities have to adapt to the disruption in our economic landscape has certainly gained much attention. In today’s age of technological disruption, how relevant is a degree that qualifies someone as being able to study hard and to regurgitate facts in a 3-hour examination? Is that going to be a true marker of one’s ability out in the working world? If a country continues to eschew paper qualifications without considering that many of its citizens may be more suited to a ‘hands on’ approach to learning, what sort of path are we creating?

Educators have begun to accept that no amount of formal teaching is ever going to prepare someone to face a future filled with disruption. The oft-quoted examples of how the founders of Apple, Microsoft and Facebook became successes without completing their degrees do have some bearing when we consider how ‘qualified’ someone is to lead.

Having spent time with a group of young leaders recently, I witnessed first-hand how God ‘qualifies the called’ rather than ‘calls the qualified’. Line up the 12 young adults and you’d think they were just a bunch of normal guys and girls (I think some of us do them the injustice of calling them ‘kids’). Ask them to put a business proposal together and they may flounder. But get them to run a P&W session or a 4-day stay-in retreat for 130 retreatants and sit back and watch the fireworks. I am pretty sure when they received the call initially, they were probably filed with anxiety and self-doubt. But having witnessed the goings-on and being part of their preparation camp, I can only say – “BOOM!” (to quote the now championship-winning coach of the team that just won the European Cup for the 6th time).

Brothers and sisters, God indeed qualifies us to be his saints by virtue of our baptism. Let us not walk in fear, filled with self-doubt but stride forward with our heads held high. Not everyone is given the gift of learning. But we are all given the gift of free will as children of God. Let us choose to answer His call when He makes the connection in our heart. All we have to do is to say ‘Yes’ and surrender the outcome to Him. Who knows? It may be the ‘BOOM’ moment you have been waiting for all your life.

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the young adults who will be attending YCER#16 as well as the organisers. Fill them with a double outpouring of your love, joy and peace so that they may encounter you in all your glory.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all those who have nothing to give except their time and their hearts. We thank you for these selfless warriors who soldier on in spite of their crosses in life.

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