If You Have a Test, Quiz, Paper, or Project This Week…

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If you have a test, quiz, paper, or project this week…remember that someone is giving you a gift. The thought finally snuck into my brain last week, as I sat on the couch reading a book about perceptions-of-Christian-conversion-from-various-world-religions, and Annie worked by the window. The night had been short, the font was small, and my eyes were drooping. My soul, bedecked in running shorts and a marathoner’s bib fell to its knees and cried, How long, O Lord?!

Then the infiltrating thought spoke up: At any other point in my life, I would love to spend the day reading. I’ve only spent 2 years of my taller-enough-to-ride-on-the-rollercoaster life not in school, but that was enough to learn that school is not an endless slavery in learning land. From the other side, school is actually somewhat luxurious. I decided to let this little thought stay, because he’s right: School is a luxury. It’s a gift that someone is buying for me.

The reality was unmistakable, sitting there on one end of the room with Annie typing away on the other. Annie is giving me this gift. My parents are helping with this gift. Gordon Conwell trustees contributed to this gift. A lot of people are giving me a gift that I can never say I “deserve,” to spend full days, for at least two years, simply learning.

If you’re a high school student in a public school, you may not be awash in cathartic recognition right now. School sure seems like something you’re legally obligated to do. Furthermore, no one appears to be paying for it, since all the money gets laundered through the cash-negative, faceless government. However, when you start to think about the kids at the Tijuana border who have to sell candy bars to homebound tourists all day long, you realize that you’re more than the plankton we often consider ourselves to be. When you consider 9-year-old cotton pickers in Uzbekistan, this actually seems rather comfortable. We are receiving a gift.

What should we, the recipients do?

1. We, of all people, should “do all things without grumbling.” 

2. Even if a particular week is overwhelming, we should “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for [us].”

3. We should figure out who is giving us this gift and thank them.

4. Whether school is what we would choose or not, we should “work heartily” because God sees our work, effort, struggles, attitude, and intentions, even when others don’t.

5. Finally, even when the information seems pointless, we should focus on growing our character. The worst that school can be is what James calls a “trial,” and even trials are good for us in that they produce steadfastness and completeness. Even if you become a graphic artist and never use trigonometry in your adult life, the perseverance, honesty, and patience that you practice in that class will enable you to be a better graphic artist and human being.

It’s time for me to go read the first 7 chapters of Bradley Wright’s Upside. I’ve done a lot of reading and writing this week–I am honestly pretty worn–but this looks like a worthwhile book, it’s really a luxury to spend the morning reading, and I’m thankful.

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