So it’s finals week here at UNC, and I’ve been noticing a lot of interesting mannerisms in all these type A nerdy folks I call peers. There seem to be two types of study-ers come finals time.
The first group, in which I’m afraid I find myself, is really good at trusting that it’ll all be fine. This doesn’t mean we don’t study… we just study a bit less. It’s hard for us to motivate ourselves because we don’t feel that this class and this grade is all that important and that whatever is meant to happen will happen.
The second group has mentally attached their very identity to their performance on these exams. For some, it goes beyond wanting to get a good grade and do a good job. It becomes a fear that if they under-perform, they will be launched into an identity crisis because being a student is what they are and why they exist, and to fail is to be a failure.
So in the midst of all these unhealthy perspectives on finals, I thought it might be cool to take a look at what the Word says about our working hard to achieve that which God has already ordained.
On one hand, we see verses like Matthew 6:25-34 and Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7 that tell us to trust in the sovereignty of God and his provision for us. We are not in control, and our fate is sealed in our identity in Christ, so we don’t need to worry and stress about the implications of our work here on earth. We are not students, we are not employees, we are not mothers or fathers. We are children of God, adopted and dearly loved through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
On the other hand, we see verses like Colossians 3:23 and Proverbs 13:4 that teach us to do the work that God has given us here on this earth, and to do it well. We were created not as idle bits of organic matter whose only purpose is to get saved by God. Yes God saves us and when he does he calls us into action. There is work to do. For this season of my life, that work is studying for my Psych 101 final (which I’m procrastinating to do by writing this post…whatever). For some that work may be fixing cars or baking bread or filing tax reports. God’s people is a productive people.
So how do we make these two ideas get along?
The bible is clearly in favor of both, and sees no contradiction. So the answer to me, is simple. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ, and take one step at a time on the path he’s put you on. Your steps may look like doing homework, or practicing violin, or making dinner. But these are steps nonetheless. Jesus saved us from a life of slavery to sin and brought us into his family. We can know that, be confident of that, and remember that always. We worship because of that good news.
And while we’re still on this earth we take that good news with us as we go and work hard, as if we’re working for the Lord, because we’re his and so is this world.