Okay, I admit it. Like most college students, I have a really short attention span and a tendency to drift away in class. However, I’m not necessarily your average-run-of-the-mill college student. I am, in fact, a graduate student working towards a Master’s Degree in Divinity. I’m studying in the area of my calling. It’s not just preparation for a career or a job, but rather something that God has graciously called me to do. So why do I struggle so to pay attention?
Typically, before a major exam (mid-terms, finals) I study twice. The night before – when I really get all of the information in the same place in my head – and the morning of – when I review and had better have it. I was thinking this morning how ridiculous this method actually is. Especially since this is no “Man & the Environment” course (sorry Dr. Damoff), this is Biblical Interpretation. This is the story of God’s grace as told and proven primarily in the minor prophets and writings of the Old Testament. I should be able to focus.
I was a little down on myself this morning – sort of verbally abusing myself for my laziness and procrastination – as well as a little ashamed that I can’t seem to force myself to do what it is that I long to do. I always seem to do that which I hate. Then it struck me. This sounds familiar. Read Romans 7:19 and see if you start to see what hit me this morning.
Sometimes the most amazing thing that happens to each us occurs when God enters into our self-loathing, self-focused, and fallen situation and shows us insight into His Word. Of course I struggle with studying something in regards to my calling! My knowledge of monocot vs. dicot has absolutely no bearing on the battle raging between Good and evil – not because it’s not important, but because that’s not my calling.
My calling is to represent, show, tell, speak, teach, and live the grace freely given by Jesus the Christ – who was foreshadowed by God’s speaking and teaching through the lives of the prophets – who was foreshadowed by the writings – and who is the firstborn of Creation.
So why study? Especially since I will freely admit that my goal in life is not necessarily to earn the highest marks on a test in class. But since my goal in life to present a never-changing message of freedom, grace, love, and forgiveness to a world that is ever-changing and that contains broken fragments created by the lack of freedom, grace, love, and forgiveness.
So final exams are good (and pretty dern important this time of year), but don’t forget that Christ-followers have a bigger mission.