One must learn throughout one’s life. To be a student formally is what people do to get a job or to land a better job. I am going to be a student formally to do my current job better. No greater pay, no greater position. Hopefully I will be more productive at the job I am already doing. Why would I spend time in formal education if it will not change my job or pay? I will get to that in a bit.
Earlier this week I signed up for a semester of Koine Greek – that’s the language the New Testament part of the Bible was written in originally. Why Greek? Two reasons.
- Learning biblical greek will help me understand the Bible so much better. I will have the joy of knowing God’s word better and hopefully teach it better too.
- It is a prerequisite course for admission into the M.Div. program at Bethlehem College and Seminary where I hope to marticulate in the Fall of 2021 (D.V.) for which I need to complete two semesters of Greek studies.
Coming back to why would I want to go back to school when there is no prospect of a better job or a better pay for all the effort that I will put in? May be an easy way to explain it is by using a term I just discovered – ikigai. I must admit, I have not read the book, nor do I have a clue about the ikigai philosophy. I only have so far watched a few minutes of a YouTube video that described this word. And based on what I understood from that video I hope to explain my reason.
The ikigai concept as I understand it says that there are generally four ways one lives their life. Some people get to do what they love. Some people do what they are good at. Some people do a job to get paid. Some people get to meet a need in the world.
Usually it is a combination of 2 or more of these possibilitites that a person does in this world. In my situation, when I began my career, I was bi-vocational. I worked in IT. It paid the bills. I was good at what I did. Ikigai would describe this as a person working in a profession. Simultaneously I was a church planter. I did what I loved to do – preach the Bible and teach and the good news that Jesus saves is what the world needs. It was my mission. That was the season I was bi-vocational.
A few years later, the church was able to pay me for my service and mission. I worked for Cross Cultured Church full time having quit my IT job at Infosys. I loved what I was doing, I made enough to get by when I started working for Cross Cultured Church and they have been able to remunerate me well over the years. I got to serve the world in a very special way as a pastor. But there was one thing that has always been a struggle. I needed training to be better at what I do. I was not bad at it nor am I as good as I should be. And getting to be a student formally all over again is going to help me get better at what I do.
Now that is why I am going to seminary and becoming a student all over again – it’s not for a better pay, it’s not for a better job, it’s not for a new career. It is to do what I love to do, what I am paid to do and what the world needs that I do better. It’s ikigai!