Rise | Standing Out From The Crowd
One of my biggest frustrations at school was feeling stuck. When there were starving children out in Africa, and people who needed to know Jesus loved them, school began to feel irrelevant. So, I got the idea into my head that school was something I just had to get through, to cope with until I was free to do something meaningful. Because unless I'd moved to Africa or saw people saved every day or had single handedly solved world poverty, I wasn't really making a difference right?! Wrong.
Something I've learnt since then is that God's focus is the why rather than the what. That He is far more interested in why we do what we do, than what we are actually doing.
School is an incredible opportunity to show this!
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
Colossians 3:17 tells us to do everything as if we're doing it for Jesus, not people. I'd heard the verse so many times, that I'd started to add in exceptions. It sounded a bit like this: "do everything for Jesus except for maths homework. God's not really interested in maths homework is He? I'm just doing that for my maths teacher." Or "do everything as if you're doing it for Jesus, apart from in the hour at home before you leave for school, Jesus knows family are hard in the morning so that bits an exception, they know you love them anyway." Or "do everything for Jesus except where you sit at lunch time. You're only sitting down for 20 minutes anyway so it would hardly make a difference if I sat by the person who's alone."
But the verse says everything. School is not just something to get through until you can do everything for Jesus, but a real opportunity to shine!
To help explain why I think school is such a good time for this, I'd like you to think of the story of my friend the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37) What made the Samaritan stand out? Was it what he did as job? Was it where he was from? I think the answer to this question is that he did what everybody else did, but he did it differently. All 3 men of them were walking down a road, they all had the same journey to make, but he considered making his journey less important by stopping to help.
School is a time when you are forced to do things that everyone has to do. Homework, revision, exams, or spending most of your day in a specific place. Each of these things give you an opportunity to stand out by doing them differently! The effort you put into your homework, the way you manage revision and the way you handle stress are invitations to demonstrate Jesus.
For example: everyone gets stressed during exams, but choosing to ask God for his peace, and to find your identity in Jesus, not just in your grades, is a massive witness! People will look at you and think "what's she got that I haven't?" or "how is she managing to do that so differently?" Those are such exciting questions when the answer is Jesus!
We can see clearly that Jesus is more interested in our motivation when we look at His answer to what the greatest commandment is, in Matthew 22. Rather than answering with a thing we should or shouldn't do, Jesus' answer is "love."
As you head back to school, regardless of whether you love it, hate it, or just want it to be over ASAP, my prayer is that your motivation behind everything would be love for Jesus and for them. And as a consequence, that people would see you are different, not just because of what you do, but because of why you do it.
Libby is about to embark on her second year studying Chemistry at Durham, and is part of Kings Church. She firmly believes that life is at its best when she's outside and with people, especially when there's ice cream involved.