Economics: A Love/Hate Episode
Tonight the CEO of my company spent some time in my office reviewing loan applications. Afterwards he took me and some co-workers out for drinks, and expounded a bit on his philosophy on who should, and who should not, get approved for a loan.
The professional student in Arizona – highly questionable. When would she finally graduate, get a job, and start paying us back? The guy going to Harvard Divinity, whose co-signer was his live-in girlfriend – a bit unusual. He’s going to graduate $60,000 in debt and get some job paying only $25,000 – do we really want to give him a loan?
The CEO looked at me after this comment, acknowledging that I apparently want to follow a similar path. Though respectful of my plan, he seemed genuinely concerned about my economic circumstances, and wanted to urge me, the Harvard Div guy, and any others like us to think practically about our situation. What would we really do with a divinity degree? Were there any programs out there (like some MBA programs he knew of) that would let me work during the week and just take classes on the weekends? Do I want to dig myself into debt, with bleak prospects of such limited earnings potential?
Part of me is in complete agreement with him. It is this line of rational, practical thinking that has kept me from seminary for 7 years --ever since an economics professor drilled into me that higher education is only worthwhile in proportion to the increased salary the degree will earn. If I don’t expect to get a decent rate of return on my investment (aka higher salary as a result of the advanced degree), then it doesn’t make economic sense to put any money (aka tuition) towards the investment.
So on one hand, I – I the oldest child/practical/economics major/non-impulsive personality type me – agree with the CEO. It is not a smart business decision to go into debt to get a flimsy degree in theology. But on the other hand, I – I the child of God, who watched as all events in my life lined up to point exactly in this direction – cannot help but plunge ahead excitedly into the apparent foolishness of the situation. What may seem as foolishness in this world may turn out to be wise in the next.
I only wish tonight that I hadn’t nodded so passively in agreement with the CEO’s remarks. What I was thinking, but didn’t say aloud, was that “I trust God will provide.” I don’t know what I will do after seminary, I don’t know what my earnings potential will be like, but I trust, I trust, I trust that He will provide.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)