Breaking the First Commandment

“You shall have no other gods before me.  (Exodus 20:3 ESV)

Much has been said recently about the canceling of student loan debt. Many feel that it is unfair for one group of people to pay the debt for another. Yet, I believe there is a more profound underlying factor here: the idolizing of higher education. Sadly, Christian young people and their parents may be just as addicted to its allurement and in danger of breaking the First Commandment.

All Christian parents should want their children to have a secure financial future, yet Christian parents should march to a different drummer than the world in its accomplishment. The question is not what college or university to attend, but what is God’s will for their lives.

Whatever is first in our lives takes precedence over everything else. I worked for a mission organization and recruited young people for a short-term mission experience. We asked post-high schoolers to take six months to a year for discipleship training, evangelism, and foreign missions. Many wanted to go but could not tear themselves from their educational pursuits before or during college. Some thought they would go after they graduated from university but found themselves strapped with excessive debt and unable to complete their heart’s desire.

Education, training, and preparing for the future are good things, but only under the Lordship of Christ. God told ancient Israel numerous times not to worship the gods of the people around them. God knew that it would lead them astray. Our society prioritizes education so much that we will mortgage our children’s futures to obtain it. We must view education as a means to fulfill the will of God in our lives, not just the financial security or prestige a college degree might bring.

One of my favorite quotes is from the South African missionary, C.T. Studd— “Only one life twill soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last.”  Let’s not have any other gods before him.

The image is used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes is the author of “Broken Vessels,” published in February 2021, and “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places,” published by YWAM Publishing in 2011.

Ken’s Website—
Ken blogs at
Email- [email protected]


Leave a Reply