A dizzying amount of syllabuses and unfamiliar faces have flooded my first week as a college student. As this first week with my newfound independence is winding down, I realize how much college has to teach me; not just in the classroom, but through relationships and very real adult responsibilities, as well. This past week, I’ve scribbled countless assignments into one of my three planners with a specific colored gel pen representing a specific class. Although my planner pages are filled up and resemble a confused rainbow, I have already fallen behind on many imminent deadlines. This is most likely the case because of my decisions to stay up past 1 a.m. playing Grand Theft Auto or staying up talking about life with my new friends and roommate. While I have treasured getting to know so many down to earth and hilarious individuals, I am recognizing that there is a certain amount of work I must put in to help myself succeed.
Yesterday, after enduring a grueling day that started at nine in the morning and was filled with lectures and labs until nine in the evening, I woke up completely exhausted. I somehow convinced myself to open my daily devotional book before my 8:00 a.m. lecture. I wasn’t really expecting to find anything overly inspiring, rather I was just going through a morning ritual that I so flippantly had been setting aside. But, as God so often does, He took me by surprise. The devotional’s message was from 1 Chronicles 28:20,
“David also said to Solomon his Son, ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished’” (NIV).
Did you hear that? DO THE WORK. These three, simple words are what God used to instill His truth within me. Lately I’ve been noticing how some Christians, myself included, use their faith as a reason to believe that they can idly sit by and have God continue to bestow blessing upon blessing upon them. But here’s the truth: God uses hardships and challenges to mold us and to make us immeasurably strong so that we can stand as an example of Christ’s love and grace to others. God does give his grace freely, but he doesn’t hand out free rides. Honor God by using the blessings He’s already given you to fuel the hard work required to achieve God’s plan for your life. For me, these blessings are my tendency to organize, my sociable nature, and my determination. I can use organization to make sure I am hitting the right deadlines and not forgetting about any assignments. In conjunction with organization, I am not afraid to ask a question or to meet new people who can help me if I am struggling. Finally, the determination/stubbornness God gave me helps me to continue to forge ahead even when times get rough. Similarly, all of the blessings God has given YOU can work together as you work hard.
Now some of you may be asking about the second part of 1 Chronicles 28:20. The second part of this verse states that God will not leave you until your work for His temple is finished. This part was at first a bit confusing for me, because how is succeeding in college classes doing God’s work? But then I kept thinking of Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” (NIV). I interpret this verse to mean that God doesn’t care what you are doing, he just wants you to find a way to honor him. Whether we are studying hard for a test, conversing with friends, doing laundry, or working out, we can honor God by doing our work joyfully, without complaint, and radiating love for anyone we encounter while doing His work. So as long as we are giving everything we have into a task, we are doing that task for the Lord.
I find it funny how God finds refreshing ways for us to think about His truth. As I prepare for my second week of college classes, I strive to not procrastinate or shy away from hard work. Instead, I am going to DO THE WORK. God’s ultimate plan for my life can only start to unfold once I choose to do the work he desires me to do.