CS Lewis preached at Oxford on October 22, 1939. Less than two months earlier, Hitler had invaded Poland. Britain was about to face the Nazi onslaught. This is what Lewis told the assembled students:
It may seem odd for us to carry on classes, to go about our academic routine in the midst of a great war. what is the use of beginning when there is so little chance of finishing? How can we study Latin, geography, and algebra in a time like this? aren’t we just fiddling while Rome burns? This impending war has taught us some important things. Life is short. The world is fragile. All of us are vulnerable, but we are here because this is our calling. [ed. italics] Our lives are rooted not only in time, but also in eternity, and the life of learning, humbly offered to God, is its own reward. It is one of the appointed approaches to the divine reality and the divine beauty which we shall hereafter enjoy in heaven and which we are called to display even now amidst the brokenness all around us.
“…[T]he life of learning, humbly offered to God, is its own reward.”
(qtd. from our church bulletin.)