The motto for the United Negro College Fund sends chills up my spine whenever I hear it. Its foreboding yet challenging message declares:
A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
For the Christian, however, the stakes are even higher. A human mind made in the image and likeness of an infinite, eternal, and personal God (Genesis 1:26-27) is a fortiori (Latin: with greater force, all the more) a terrible thing to waste. Because the human soul survives death, cultivating the life of the mind to the glory of God takes on an eternal dimension. The scriptural imperative is to love the Lord your God with all of your being (Matthew 22:37), and this includes using and developing God’s incredible gift of the mind.
Christians should practice not only the moral virtues mentioned in the Bible, but also the intellectual virtues mentioned therein. Believers are to pursue wisdom, knowledge, and understanding—all of which are rooted in the fear of the Lord (Job 28:28, 34:4; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7, 9:10). Discernment, reflection, testing, and intellectual renewal are all biblical mandates that Christians should heed (Acts 17:11; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 14:29; Colossians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Of all people, the Christian who understands the meaning of the imago Dei (image of God) should value, cultivate, and pursue the life of the mind.
I, for one, do not want to waste any of the good gifts that God has graciously given to me. And the mind, which is capable of reason and rationality, is one of God’s greatest gifts.
For more on developing healthy habits of the mind, see “Logic 101 and Christian Truth-Claims,” in Kenneth Samples’ new book A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test.
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