Men and Women of Substance
What an incredible day at Heritage Prep! Our two campuses were filled with captivating and compelling events and we celebrated the hard work of the students, faculty, and staff. Thank you grandparents for coming out to support your grandchildren. Many of you asked to share in writing my remarks this morning:
At Heritage Prep we seek to provide an academically rigorous educational experience designed to help students know, love, and practice that which is true, good, and excellent and to prepare them to live purposefully and intelligently in the service of God and man.
We believe that education should focus more on who a person becomes rather than what they will do. We believe that education should not simply be the transfer of information. At Heritage, it is the preparation of a mind, the nurturing of a heart, and the formation of a soul. The best way to achieve that is not through a lecture, but through a relationship.
That is why, for the past 18 months, we have been in-person. Not because we didn’t believe COVID was real, or that we were making some statement, or staging some type of rebellion. It was simply because we were convinced, convicted, and committed that true education cannot be achieved through a video screen.
We’re linking arms with you to try and build men and women of substance, that have a “weight” to them, that there’s more to them than a head full of facts.
One of our dads shared in Father’s Prayer this week that current research of young Christian adults shows they are listening to a lot of voices in our world today. On average they will hear 10x as much from the world through a screen as from God’s Word. I would argue that their souls will become as vacuous as the voices that are speaking into them.
Those voices will fill them with all sorts of information and opinions. It’s kind of like blowing up a balloon. That balloon has a form and occupies space. From the outside, it appears to be something of substance. But you get a sense of its substance – its “weight” – when you notice that it is affected by the slightest of force. A slight breeze will carry it away. It has no ability to remain steadfast and resolute. The Bible calls this being “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). Do you know what happens to that life when it comes to an end? It’s like popping a balloon. There is no longer any form or substance. There’s nothing left.
Compare that to what happens when you fill a child’s soul with the true, good, and beautiful. When you teach from a perspective of the existence of a transcendent truth that exists outside of our perception and interpretation. That there is an anchor to which we can attach our understanding of this world and culture and people. That there is a God. That He has spoken. And that He loves you. When that is what fills your soul, you aren’t shaken by momentary affliction or trials and tribulation that come your way. Instead, you find yourself settled and anchored to perfect truth.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
As I said, we don’t believe that education is the transfer of information, but the preparation of a mind, the nurturing of a heart, and the formation of a soul. When you approach education from that perspective, you aren’t simply filling space, you are creating substance. There is a weightiness to the soul whose eyes are fixed on Jesus, who have been redeemed by His blood, and who follow after Him with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Whereas a soul that is filled with the voices of the world shrinks from trouble, the soul filled with Truth can withstand the winds and waves that will crash against it, knowing this is not the final act, it is simply a precursor to the ultimate. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The ultimate goal of Heritage Preparatory School is not what college your grandchild will attend, what job they may get, or what size their bank account may be. It is to give them eyes to see.
One final thought: When you send out young men and women of substance, who have a weight to their souls, they will make a difference. They will have an impact. Force is equal to mass times the rate of acceleration. We consider it an awesome responsibility and incredible privilege to link arms with you to produce young men and women of substance who are released with great ferocity into this world, ready to do battle for His Kingdom.
As we head into Thanksgiving, I wanted to take just a moment to say how grateful I am to be part of this community. May God grant each of you and your family a time of rest, reflection and gratitude this Thanksgiving.
Matthew H. Skinner