he Collegiate Letter   

The Collegiate Letter Great Responsibility

By Dave Breese

Congratulations are once again in order!

But first of all, welcome back. We have all now assembled ourselves from various summer pursuits to begin the responsibilities of the fall season. For you, this is digging into the books once again to produce another year of progress toward graduation and the fascinating life which is to follow. Again we are reminded that life is not static; it is dynamic. We are moving forward inexorably in a process that we cannot stop. Rather, we are given the opportunity of doing something with that forward motion which is inescapable but can be tremendously productive.

The privilege of an education is a present activity which has tremendous implications for the future. Many of the things taught as “lasting truths” ten years ago have now been superseded by the discoveries of today. These excite us as to what are the possibilities of tomorrow and suggest that those possibilities will be very great. The person who does not have a method by which he can tap into the burgeoning package of human knowledge will soon be left in the backwash of things. Today’s student is a creature of privilege indeed. Always remember then that great privilege brings great responsibility. Great responsibility—that’s what you will be facing!

Knowledge Is Power
For these reasons at least, our lives should be filled with expectations. Even now we have the privilege of world involvement, global communi-cations, convenience of travel and a hundred other valuable possessions. Learning to be the careful master of all of these things is really the purpose of an education. Knowledge acquired today can be translated into leadership and accomplishment by tomorrow. That’s why knowledge is power.

Human knowledge is expanding at a rate so spectacular as to be almost beyond comprehension. We are told that the sum total of human knowledge doubled from the time of Christ to the year of 1750. From 1750 to 1900, it doubled once again. Then, from 1900 to 1950, it doubled again. It doubled once more from 1950 to 1960. Now, those who keep track of these things warn us that human knowledge is now doubling once each year. Yes, we know 100% more about everything than we did just a year ago. To contemplate the future implications of this tends to stagger the imagination. It will be an explosion indeed.

Can we, therefore, predict with any confidence what the future will bring? While details may escape us, the following developments are certainly inevitable.

The first is unprecedented material progress. The scientist, the engineer, the analyst of things are presenting to an incredulous world new ideas all of the time. We have hardly reached the final state of things with our present automobiles, airplanes, computers, telephones, manufactured items and industrial progress. Bright young people in corner rooms in many an industry are talking together in most animated fashion. They are asking the basic question, such as, “Why must we do it this way?” and out of that interaction, new experimental possibilities are emerging. Out of the experiments come the new things and they are bound to appear in quick succession in the days to come. We must never say about a material world, “This is all there is.”

Plus Ultra
Once, the great seagoing ships of Spain carried the expression on their sails, “No plus ultra.” This means, “Nothing beyond, nothing more.” The implication was that everything that could be discovered had been discovered.

Then Columbus discovered America! Everything was different. The Spanish galleons then carried on their sails, “Plus ultra,” or, “something more, something beyond.” So it is today.

We are also certain to see in the future the growth of evil. Crime is on the rise, along with terrorism, pillage, murder and all of the related dire activ-ities now reported in the public press. The Bible speaks about these days saying, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1). Further, it says, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (v. 13). Therefore, to be a mere positivist is not a wise course. Evil lurks at every doorstep and runs like a hidden river to the undermining of society.

Therefore, we can know that the future will hold a mounting moral struggle. The battle for the world is between good and evil! It is not fought with guns or bombs or bullets. No indeed, the basis of life is moral. Therefore, the significant persons of the future will be those who under-stand the moral content of history and who know how to win, to advance on the good side of things. To commit one’s life to the great battle of good against evil is the greatest significance that we can know in life.

We can, therefore, predict the consummation of history. The present assumptions called “the uniformity of nature” are simply not true. The second law of thermodynamics reminds us that all of reality is running down. Therefore, history must come to an end. Concerning this the Bible says, “The world passes away, and the lust thereof” (I Jn. 2:17). It says, “And the works that are therein, shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10). Because this is the case, we must not plan on fulfilling our lives merely within the historical process. History will one day come to an end and then we will realize the lives of significance are the ones lived for eternity, rather than merely for time. Yes, history will be consummated with the triumph of good over evil. This is a triumph in which each of us can personally participate.

Because these things are true, our generation has given itself to increasing talk and inquiry into this thing called “values.” Sensing that something is terribly wrong within society, the commentators are calling for a return to values. They many times slightly expand this by calling them “family values” or “traditional values” or “society’s values.” Be very sure that the discussion of values (because it is critically important) will continue and expand in our time.

This being the case, where do we get our values? By values we must mean those final, changeless truths on which life can be built. The answer is that no final values are available from within the culture itself. If we would know the values that make life significant, we must turn to the author of life to discover what values truly are. Happily, the author of life and reality has left us a complete instruction book as to how to live our lives in this world. That instruction book is, of course, the Bible. Concerning the Bible, the Apostle Paul said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly fur-nished to all good works” (II Tim. 3:16,17). Happily then, we have a course of instruction available to us by which we can discover and live for the values that count.

May I, therefore, suggest that there is no better time than now, at the beginning of this school year, to familiarize ourselves with the Bible. I have suggested to thousands of young people that they take some time every day to read the Bible, the Word of God. This will be a valuable source of spiritual input, the utility of which will never fail.

Upon studying the Bible, it is then certainly a wise thing to pray. One makes no mistake by saying to God, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” When that question is asked sincerely of our Heavenly Father, the answer is something wonderful. To be daily led of God is a remarkable privilege indeed. Trusting God is the only genuinely smart way to live. So the Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5,6).

If every student in America would invest a short time every day in this pursuit, what a difference it would make. Reading the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 will certainly help keep us all straight. Reading the invitation to life in Christ in John 3 is instructive indeed. Reading the call to young people in II Timothy 2:15 can inspire a day and a lifetime.

Your Testimony For Christ
May I suggest also that each of us needs to be a testimony for Christ. Already, you have met many friends who are wondering, lonesome, questioning life. Your friendship can mean so much to them. Your testimony for Christ can be the source of salvation for someone else who needs the Lord. To be of spiritual help to someone who needs you is one of the great privileges in life.

Have you received your copy of Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave? If not, allow me to send you a copy of this full-length book with my compliments. It will explain why society is the way it is and be of very real help to many. Take the time to write and I’ll send you Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave. Let’s also make it a point to keep in touch in these days to come. With questions, problems, concerns, take the time to write.

I’m delighted that you are a part of our Collegiate Letter circle of friends. May this be a beautiful year for you at school and in every other way as well.