What Is the End Result of Academic Brilliance?
Is this a stupid question? No, it is not. For we have seen many in Liberia who excelled in academia. They knew all the lessons before they entered the classroom. God gave some people exceptional, rich and serious brains, empowering them to know already more than did their teachers. And so it was all through school.
But to what avail? For all too many of these brilliant people—all but a very few—used their brains to help themselves—or so they thought. Some, who managed to do some good for the country, took the lion’s share for themselves.
But God, the Giver of the brain and everything else, did not intend for these “whiz kids” to use their brains for themselves, rather to help their people, countries and the world.
There are stories of several whiz kids in the Bible—like David, the shepherd boy who became Israel’s greatest king. His son Solomon, who built the Temple in Jerusalem and brought peace to the Middle East for nearly a half century was called the wisest ruler of all time.
Before then, there was Joseph, the Dreamer whom his brothers sold into slavery in Egypt. Later, after saving Egypt from famine and forgiving his brothers, Joseph rescued them and their father Jacob from famine in Israel to Egypt, where they became rich and prosperous.
Moses, too, loved his people, the Israelites, whom another Pharaoh “who did not know Joseph” enslaved. But God sent Moses to go and liberate them. Moses also wrote the first five Books of the Bible, vividly explaining God’s intervention in human history.
We have just celebrated Christmas, the birth anniversary of God’s only Son, who was not only super brilliant but also super powerful—the most powerful Man that ever walked this earth. He was miraculously created through the Virgin Mary and given a heart of love that led Him to use His power ONLY for good, nothing else. He even died that human beings might have eternal life.
And now our own brilliant people, what have they used their brains for?
We recall “the powerful and influential Chief named Boatswain,” who rescued the colonists and saved the Colony that later became Africa’s first independent Republic.
Joseph Jenkins Roberts also used his brains for the good of the country and the world. He saved Liberians from Western colonialism by convening that Constitutional Convention in 1847 that led to the creation of the Republic of Liberia. It was this Liberia which, though poor and weak, showed the great light of liberty and sovereignty to the rest of Africa, inspiring them to shake off the yoke of imperialism.
God also gave us Edwin Barclay, the brain trust who already at age 19 wrote one of the world’s poetic and musical masterpieces, “The Lone Star Forever.” It was he who, as President of Liberia, and with the assistance of his erudite Secretary of State, Counselor Louis Arthur
Grimes, saved Liberia from being colonized following the Fernando Po Crisis in 1930. Edwin Barclay also paved the way for the democratic and orderly transfer of political power few African nations have emulated.
But what of our many other brilliant sons and daughters? What are they using their brains for?
Alas! Not all, but too many of them have lost their way—yea, the way of Liberia, too, because they have been selfish. They think that the only reason God gave them brains is for self-aggrandizement.
How unfortunate! How shortsighted, how self-defeating!
Some of these people come from Cape Mount, once known as one of Liberia’s intellectual powerhouses. But because many of these whiz kids have been selfish, they have done little or nothing for not just Liberia, but even their own hometown, Robertsport.
Several sons of Grand Cape Mount have become super rich, but where are those riches today? Where are their descendants?
Remember Jesus’ admonition—“Set not your heart on earthly things that will gather moth and rust; but on eternal things”—things that we can neither see nor touch—love, goodness, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and, of course, faith in Almighty God and his Son Jesus.
Many Liberians, thanks to the missionaries and their Liberian successors, embraced Christianity from infancy and childhood. But what has happened in the intervening years? Many have failed to take seriously the teachings of Christ and have gone after that one thing that Jesus rejected—SELF.
Today, we have a number of brilliant and also highly educated people running for President. Can they put SELF aside and focus on the development and refinement of Liberia? Can those who are seeking leadership shake off SELF and lead Liberia and her people out of poverty and backwardness into a future of hope, enlightenment, true progress and prosperity?
May God grant!