Westmont Magazine More than Just a Little Learning
by David K. Winter
I am impressed again, as I am each year, with the very significant achievement of those we have honored this morning, and we fully realize that many others deserve recognition as well. I am very proud of Westmont students. My congratulations to each one of you for your own personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth this year.
Let me share just a few thoughts in closing about your education. Someone has said that “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” We can persuade ourselves we know more than we really do. It can make us proud. We can make judgments too quickly and oversimplify the nature of reality.
At this point in the adventure of life, where do you feel you belong in gaining a true and adequate education?
As one indicator of your progress, I suggest that if you have so many strong opinions that you find it hard to appreciate other points of view, then you may still need a better education. By this time you should have an increased appreciation of many points of view. Arrogance is a closed mind, a scorn for positions other than your own that implies you are all right and they are all wrong. And we should adopt a healthy skepticism about making judgments of this kind.
Several verses in the book of Proverbs state, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If our wisdom is rooted in a godly awe and reverence for our creator, we are not apt to be arrogant people. Our knowledge will be rich and make us joyful, balanced, whole, and exciting. It will be connected to our personal relationship with Christ and acknowledge His primary role in all we know and believe.
Another quality may indicate you have not yet passed the stage of a little learning: discomfort and insecurity about making decisions and commitments in life. Education is not the enemy of commitments. In fact, a good education enables us to make wise and positive commitments to people, to causes, and to our God. It gives us a reason for being committed.
We define ourselves by the choices we make of friends and actions, of values and personal beliefs. A good education should enable us to make these crucial decisions, to be people of conviction, so that we can make many worthy commitments in all areas our lives.
My prayer for you is, that as graduates of Westmont College, you will be known for your lively interest in life and ideas and people and causes—that your personal faith in Jesus Christ will be a wonderful incentive, as well as personal support, as you face and work through the complexities each of us must deal with at various points in our lives.
For those of you who are seniors, this is my final opportunity to thank you. You can’t know the joy and reward that has come from having even a small part in your lives. So may the Lord richly bless you during the summer months and throughout the rest of your college career if you are still finishing your education. And may those of you who are moving out into the working world or on to graduate study know God’s blessing as you find roles of challenge and reward.