It’s a fresh start, a new adventure, an opportunity to become “Robert” after 18 years of being “Bobby,” and for Susie to become “Susan.” Going off to school may feel like a blank slate, but more often than not, the patterns and habits and motives of high school follow the Freshman right into the University experience. How can that student shed the days of adolescence and step into a new season of maturing to be more like their Master?
I wish I could sit every freshman Robert and Susan down and tell them a few things. After I remind them that God is in control, so they don’t have to be anxious, the next thing I say is that:
Your education is not all about you. Sure, over the next years, you are going to grow, learn new skills, make new friends, maybe even find a vocation or a spouse you will love and pursue the rest of your life. But that isn’t the primary reason that you are sitting in the classroom and walking the stairs to the residence halls.
Your education is about glorifying your God, about making Him look beautiful to the world around you. Susan, take a look at the words of Paul to the Colossians. Robert, recognize that Paul is outlining the result of following Jesus: If you, who were hostile to the holiness of God, have been reconciled to God, then you have been delivered from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. If you are a part of the Kingdom of Jesus, your allegiance is going to look different than following the kingdom of this world. And it starts with your purpose: You are not studying to make something of yourself, but to make much of Jesus.
Take that Spoken Communication class, and learn how to speak confidently and with clarity. Learn the logic in Essentials of Mathematics, appreciating the patterns found even in numbers. Marvel in Biology lab at the intricacies of life, recognizing the fingerprint of your own Creator. Don’t just bide your time, jump through the hoops, and “get it over with.” Every class, every assignment, even every conversation in the lunch line waiting for your burger can be an act of worship that both celebrates your God now and prepares for serving Him with delight and excellence in the days ahead.
Robert. Susan. Here is the key:
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Col 3:23-24)
And the Lord Christ will equip you. The purpose in your education is to glorify your God–now and in the future. Greek Flashcards, late-night In-and-Out runs (Secret Menu Here), Gospel outlines, washing dishes in the caf, and reading mundane textbooks can all be worship. Your education is more critical than you know: Make it about Him.