"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24
We recently took a trip to Pensacola, Florida to drop off our son for his freshman year of college. I have to admit I was a little bit jealous as he will experience things that I can only dream of. He will experience the full college life such as living in a dorm, meeting new people, and having access to a library and study rooms. He will not have to wait until he is married and has kids to finish his college degree. He is the reason I went back to school as I knew I had to make educational strides to better my vocational choices. I went back to school a few months after he was born, and now, here we were dropping him off at school so that he could pursue a degree of his own.
While on the Florida campus, my 45-year-old self noticed the study areas and quiet rooms in which I imagined myself using them to concentrate and focus. I am not sure my 18-year-old self would have appreciated these spaces as I likely would have been more interested in other things that would have meant very little to my academic success. As the saying goes, "Youth is wasted on the young", and I can verify that to be true. When I was a teenager, I did not care about the world of learning as I do today, and I studied as little as possible, just enough to get by. I cared only about being eligible for sports, and I often said to myself that I would never use the information I was being taught anyway. I squandered my classroom time and even my exposure to chapel messages in which I should have been soaking up lifelong lessons.
I did not get truly serious about school until I started my master's program and decided I wanted to do well. My employer paid for my classes upfront, with the caveat that I would have to repay that cost if didn’t do well, so there were $3,300 reasons to not fail my classes. I learned that when I apply myself, I could do well, and I am grateful to now be on the other side of that journey. In the earlier years of my academic career, I did not fully apply myself as I should have, and I did not see the big picture of whom or what I was studying for. I knew I did not want to get into trouble for my bad grades, but it was not enough to propel me to study hard and fully apply myself. I would study for the Happy Meal or Whataburger that was promised me if I did well, but I failed to see that I was to do my best for the Lord.
If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to study hard ultimately to please the Lord. I can guarantee that I would have escaped a lot of spankings and heartbreak. I can assure you I would have done better with my studies, and I know I would have been filled with the joy of the Lord as I sought to please Him. When you are young it’s hard to see the big picture, but I have learned that whatever I do, I need to do heartily - with all my heart - in service to the Lord as He is the One I seek approval from. I wish I could go back and change my study habits and motives, but I can only learn from my mistakes and encourage others to learn from them as well. As I left my son at school, my parting words to him through my tears were, "Do well!"
Who do you work for when you minister to others? How about work or school? Do you do things for your own honor and glory or do you strive to honor your Lord and Savior? Everything we do in life should be to please the Lord, and should be without complaining or a bad attitude. God looks at our heart and sees not only what we do, but also the spirit in which we do it. Will you be pleasing to God with how you work and in what you do, or will He be dishonored? May we see the big picture that we serve the Lord Christ, and may we do well in all that we do.
Stay in the fight!