Friday, March 23, 2007

Bill Gates Getting His Harvard Degree

In 1973 Bill Gates entered Harvard University in order to get an education. Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975 in order to join with childhood friend, Paul Allen, and together they founded a little business and the rest is history.

Microsoft is the world’s largest maker of computer software with annual revenues of $44 billion in 2006. Gates and his wife Melinda created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, which is now the world’s largest philanthropic foundation with an endowment of about $33 billion. The foundation concentrates on promoting global health, ending poverty and hunger and enhancing education.

Forbes magazine estimates Gates’ personal worth at $56 billion, making him the world’s richest person.

So, Harvard has decided to award their “dropout” an honorary degree and will honor him at their June commencement. Gates will also address the graduating class of 2007.

Many have reduced the idea of getting a degree down to getting equipped to do a job and make a living. Obviously Gates didn’t get the degree but he did learn how to do a job and make a living. As you know, many have gotten the former and missed the latter.

This reversal is what happens so often when it comes to matters of faith in Christ. Did you complete catechism or confirmation? Did you check all the appropriate boxes on the _____________ (insert name of any church’s) card for praying, worshipping, giving, etc.? Did those experiences result in you learning how to build a relationship with God and make a life?

If not, then your “degree” means very little. The single purpose of learning theology, church history, spiritual disciplines such as prayer, service and giving, is so that you can build a relationship with God and make a life with Him.

A life with Christ builds up “treasure in heaven”. Some of the wealthiest people you’ll ever meet will never appear on the Forbes list. These “prosperous” and “successful” people give away their lives on a daily basis by loving the difficult to love, caring for those forgotten, and restoring to others of what life’s hardships have stolen. In so doing Christ followers become “rich toward God” and receive their reward in a life to come.

The days of Lent and Easter are a perfect time to re-enter the relational arena with God. Harvard is having “dropout” Bill Gates return to address their graduates and bring a word of reality and inspiration. If you know anyone who lives the Christ-life well, invite them to speak into your life and share with you something of what it is like to build a life with Christ.

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