Why Classes Matter

In a few months I finish my senior year of college. As I reflect on my time in class, I wish I could give some advice to my freshman self: “Do all of your reading in English class; don’t play tetris during lectures; turn papers in on time; don’t take Spanish!” It took me three years of college to begin seriously thinking about my time spent in the classroom and I think most students at MU are in the same boat.

Maybe you only attend class to earn a degree and get a job. Maybe you’re here for a good time, so class is a boring break in “real life.” Maybe you’re at Mizzou to do ministry, so school doesn’t matter because God only cares about souls.

Every one of these reasons made sense to me at one point or another during my time at Mizzou. They might make sense to you. But here’s the problem: most of us spend at least 25 hours a week in class and studying. That’s over 20% of our waking hours. For many of us, it’s more. Can we really afford to brush off that much time with silly excuses?

The problem balloons in the future because these excuses trickle into our future jobs: “I’m only here to make money, but the job doesn’t matter; I’m working for the weekends, when real life happens; my job is pointless, God only cares  if I go to church on Wednesdays and Sundays.” Be honest with yourself, is this attitude attractive?

Fortunately the Bible gives Christians a powerful framework to deny this lie. The theologian Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human experience over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry ‘Mine!'” Jesus passionately cries “Mine!” not only about your soul, but also your school work, the content of your classes, and the way in which you work.

In the Old Testament God cries “Mine!” over all sorts of work. He does so by giving specific directions about farming (Lev. 25:4, 26:5), safe architecture (Deut. 22:8), artwork (Ex. 35:30-33), and more.  In fact, God not only cares about the work, but how work is done. In Exodus he requests artists “with all craftsmanship, [. . .] and skill.”

Col. 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”  Paul addresses these words to bondservants–people who voluntairily entered slavery for a set time period to pay off debt. This verse is not about condoning slavery, but rather about elevating the human dignity of slaves. Paul is saying, “You do not work for men, you work for the creator of the universe, and loves to know you and cares about everything you do!” Their tasks were far more difficult, menial, and challenging then anything college students do, yet we still doubt God cares about school.

Jesus came to redeem your entire life–your school today, and your work tomorrow. Without Christ, we are doomed to spend hours at jobs and in classes that simply do not matter. Without Christ work becomes the means to an end. With Christ, however, we understand the dignity of school work; we understand that Jesus made everything, and loves for us to study his creation; we understand that he loves to take joy in our classwork, and cares about every detail so intimately that he wants us to work as though he himself were our boss.

Christ desires to be Lord over your school work. He does not brush it aside or call it the time in between real life. Will you brush away that which Jesus claims in you?

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About Patrick K. Miller

Currently I am living in Columbia serving at the University of Missouri with Veritas, The Crossing's campus ministry. In December 2010 I graduated from Mizzou with a degree in English Literature. My beautiful wife, Emily, works is an Interior Designer with a local firm. I like espresso, 30 Rock, and books. My favorite old dead guys are John Owen, Augustine and Francis Schaeffer. You should read something by them.
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