Ed, my neighbor next door, heard we were at one of the seven ceremonies for this years’ spring convocation for the University of Saskatchewan. A couple of years ago, Ed and Ruby attended the convocation of graduates for the College of Veterinary Medicine, because a relative was graduating. Ed says that he could not believe there were so many degrees given away that year.
I said it was probably like this year, when more than four hundred graduates got degrees in just the one ceremony we were at. It was said in our ceremony that three thousand were graduating altogether this spring. Ed said that three thousand sounded about right. At the ceremony they were at, row after row of graduates got one degree after another, so that Ed felt he was being kept in a school detention. Ed claims the convocation was longer than a church service which can go on forever.
Ed is skeptical about universities and higher education. He sums it up this way. “It costs students or their parents a lot of money. It takes years to get a degree. It makes too many young people think they are know-it-alls with the right to riot as they like. Case in point, the university students protesting higher tuition fees in the streets of Montreal. Does rioting count as a field trip to explore the finer points of damaging innocent businesses and disturbing the peace?”
I had no answer for Ed except that many students are not majoring in rioting. Most, I believe, seek to act in our society in a positive way. Many others besides students also protest for their own self-interest. There are many celebrated universities and scholars of learning, but even institutions of higher education have their limitations. The greatest minds or authorities in a field of study today can be discredited tomorrow. Their findings are proven wrong or incomplete. Know-it-alls have stale dates, just like a loaf of bread.
It is good to celebrate with those receiving their degrees. Degrees proclaim years of study and learning so that graduates can contribute to society in the area of their talents and interests such as: business, law, education, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, dentistry, nursing, agriculture etc. People do not all have the same talents and interests. Our different gifts and talents are meant to be used for the common good not so we can become personally rich or celebrated. The Bible speaks of our human body as being made up of many parts. “The eye cannot say to the hand ‘I don’t need you!’And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’… If one part suffers every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” There is always a need for us all, with or without degrees, to contribute to the common good.
Today, there may be a lack concern for the common good and a debate about the most necessary research and scholarly pursuits. The Bible warns, “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” It also cautions of those that do not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God who neither glorify Him as God nor give thanks to Him. When it comes to God, where are the wise man and the scholar? The wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight. He knows the thoughts of the wise are futile. Do we realize God is the smartest of all?