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Academic Dean: Faithfulness in the College Years is Key

by | May 9, 2016 | Education |

In Luke 16.10, Jesus makes a statement about faithfulness and compromise. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” There’s a principle here: faithfulness in small things leads to being entrusted with big things.

That’s a picture of what college is about. Your freshman classes are about being entrusted with small things. You learn the basic vocabulary and the most basic skills in your field. You learn or improve other skills, like reading and communicating, that are useful across the disciplines.

You learn the “small stuff”—note that “small” does not mean “unimportant.”

In your first year, you learn the small stuff that provides the foundation for progressively less-small things, until you’re handling medium-sized tasks and concepts in your junior year, and putting them into practice in your internships, and maybe during your senior year (and certainly in grad school) you start handling the BIG stuff. That’s the progression that education is built on.

The enemy of this progress is compromise in the small things. If you cheat, if you refuse to learn foundational things, if you don’t put in your best effort, then you cannot be trusted with the bigger, weightier, more important things. Educational growth, like every other kind of growth is organic, progressive, and takes time, follows a fairly set process.

Your aorta is a tube of muscle about the width of your thumb and less than a foot long. It comes out of the top of your heart and branches as it descends through your abdomen. Your heart beats 100,000 times a day, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood a day, and every drop of it passes through your aorta.

I have a friend, a girl I went to high school with, who is getting married. And last Christmas, she and her fiancé gave each other bio-scans as gifts. Bio-scans are those tests that check you for cancer and cholesterol and heart blockages—sounds like a romantic gift, right? But his bio-scan found a small weakness in his aorta. Not a hole. Not a tear. Not a rupture. YET. Just a weak, compromised spot that ruins the integrity of the artery that every single drop of blood in his body passed through, thousands of times a day.

They did surgery to repair it almost immediately. Because someday—not today or tomorrow but maybe next year, or five years from now, or ten years from now when he’s running a 10K for sixty-year-olds—someday, if it was left untreated, it would explode, and he would almost certainly die.

Compromises are usually small. But even small compromises make you a compromised person. Even small compromises can have devastating, tragic results.

In Honors Chapel, and at Commencement, we celebrate faithfulness with the small, and less small, and even a few large, things. Because we know that faithfulness in the small things leads to bigger things down the road. That’s what education is all about.

 

Dr. Perry Stepp is vice president for academic affairs at Dallas Christian College.

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