I am the mom of two young daughters, and education is rarely far from my mind. I'm a product of both public and private school. My mom homeschooled my brothers, and my husband and I are a founding family for a public charter school. It is no secret: Our family loves education.
On September 6, we'll celebrate Education Sunday alongside thousands of other Evangelicals who care about the intersection of faith and education.
There was a time when I didn't understand how much education overlapped with worship. But the Lord deepened my understanding of Luke 10:27 during graduate school.
I recognized that Jesus commanded us to "love the Lord our God with all our strength and soul," but up until that point did not fully grasp that He also called us to love Him "with all our minds."
The Lord began to open up brand new doors of opportunity to worship Him. As I chose to love Him with all my mind, I began to witness a shift in my attitude toward studying, test-taking, listening to and receiving feedback from my professors, even writing papers. I began to view these seemingly earthly assignments with eternal purpose. Each one was a call to worship. My education became an opportunity to love the Lord with my mind, an expression of love for him, true worship in the spirit of Luke 10:27.
As a mom, and the executive director of the Faith & Education Coalition-NHCLC, I long to see the next generation experience worship in spirit and truth as they love the Lord with all their minds, truly recognizing education as an opportunity to worship.
I believe a valuable tool in this process is setting high standards for students, standards that prepare their minds for the work to which God calls each student. We know when schools have sub-par expectations, students also aim for less. However, when we echo the call of Christ, reiterating that they are raised to a higher standard reflective of their God-given calling, they rise to fulfill their true potential. We desire this for all children, those in our homes as well as those in our communities.
The final words of Luke 10:27, following the call to "love the Lord with all our minds," shift our focus outward as Jesus instructs us to "love our neighbors as ourselves."
One significantly large population of our neighbors are the fifty million students attending local public schools — representing ninety percent of all U.S. students this year. We have a tremendous opportunity to serve these neighbors by ensuring these precious children are also held to high standards and that they have access to quality education.
It is tempting to consider educational experiences as a means to an end, fragmented from our relationship with Christ. But the Lord is raising the standard as he did in Isaiah, "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him (59:19)."
As the Body of Christ, we have the opportunity to explore how our faith in Jesus raises the standard as we view various aspects of education, such as ensuring quality education for all students. It is essential for each us to consider how Luke 10:27 applies to loving our neighbors, and this is one area where the Church is needed to stand in the gap.
At the Faith & Education Coalition, we are raising the standards to equip children in our congregations and our communities to love the Lord with all their minds. We believe in and affirm every parent's freedom to choose how to school their children. The Lord may lead each of us to school differently, but we invite every member of the Family of Faith to consider intentional ways to love and bless all the children in our local communities. The ministry opportunities are countless.
On Education Sunday, as we seek the Father for wisdom on ways to support all the children in our communities and commit to raising the standards, I trust He will awaken us to see new opportunities in our communities.
As students head back to school this year, let's use Education Sunday to encourage them to love the Lord with all their minds. And throughout the year, let's love our neighbors as ourselves by ensuring every child has access to a quality education.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.
Dr. Andrea Ramirez is the Executive Director of the Faith and Education Coalition – NHCLC.