In the last post, I encourage uni students, especially Christian students, to really think about how we can glorify God with our study. If we don’t reflect on that, we might end up going with the flow and missing the opportunities to make our study count for God. Interestingly, when Christians speak about this, chances are they are referring to getting a high score in exam or in the report card as a means to glorify God. Of course, that is one aspect. However, there are some dangers of limiting it to just that. So, how then do we glorify God with our study? Please allow me to offer three things.
1. Study well – give it your best.
What? Didn’t you say glorifying God does not necessarily mean achieving high score? Yes, I said that, and I still meant it. Giving it your best is not equal to scoring High Distinction in all your subjects. It means, however, that you study hard and study well in order to gain understanding and knowledge as best as you can. Giving it your best means that you should not compare your result with your friends. If giving your best means that you get a ‘Credit’ or a ‘C’ in a subject, then that’s your best. If giving your best means that you get an ‘High Distinction’ or ‘A+’ in another subject, then that’s your best. What matters here is whether or not you have made your best effort.
But, isn’t it very subjective? Yes, it is because everyone is different. That is why Jesus did not expect the person with 2 talents to produce 5 extra (see “Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 15:14-30). That is why in the parable, the master did not say, “Well done, clever and high-achiever servant.” Rather, he said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The key here is to be wise and faithful in using whatever blessings that God has given you within the constraints of your situation. If by giving your best you could have gotten an ‘A’, then you are not being a good steward if you slack off and only get a ‘C’. If by giving your best means you only get a ‘Pass’, then you should be content with it and be assured that God is pleased with you. So, give it your best, not someone else’s best.
2. Use your time to cultivate good habits
This one is not necessarily your ‘study.’ However, as a university student, one thing that sets you apart from working class people is that you have ample time in your hands. When I say ‘ample’, I mean ‘you cannot imagine how workers envy you’ ample. If you don’t believe me, wait until you join the workforce. Just trust me now, and thank me later. You’re welcome.
On the other hand, one thing that sets you apart from primary school students is that you have more freedom. You are in the process of maturing in terms of your age, and you are enjoying the level of independence than you ever had before. So, as a uni student, you have lots of time and lots of freedom. It’s a unique stage in life. It may never come again. Correction. It will never come again. So, use it well.
How do you use it well, you may ask? My suggestion is to use your time to get involved in activities that will help you cultivate good habits. Discipline, hard-working, commitment, perseverance, planning, following-through your plan, reflecting, praying, reading God’s Word, eating healthy, exercising, reading good books, sleeping healthy, rest and relaxation, etc … they are all good habits that you can cultivate when you are still a university student.
Notice that I am not talking about how many books to read or how much exercise you should have. No. Why? Because I believe the key thing is not the number of activities you can do with your time nor the tangible results (e.g., muscle tone, number of books read, etc). Rather, it is the good habits that you manage to cultivate while using your ample time. When you read God’s Word or read good books, the knowledge is important and useful. But the habit of reading is even more so and it will last. When you exercise regularly, the fitness is important. But the habit is even more so, and it will last.
Why now? Because if you are not doing it now, you will not have the time to do so when you begin working. Many people end up struggling with their working life not necessarily because they lack the skill or the knowledge required to do the work. Rather, many times it is because they haven’t cultivated the necessary habits to sustain them as an adult. They have to learn them as workers, but they don’t have the luxury of time and of opportunities. So, use your time now, and use it well.
3. Cultivate healthy and life-giving friendships.
Another thing that sets you apart from workers is the opportunity you have to make friends… lots of friends. When you start working, your friends are your co-workers, your family friends, your church friends, and any other friends that you have made during your student life. If you don’t conduct your friendships well during your student life, then you might end up with just your co-workers and your family.
In an earlier post, I have argued that human beings need to know and to be known by each other. We yearn for relationships. Your uni life is the best season to cultivate good, healthy, and life-giving friendships. Of course, you can still do this even after student life. However, your student life is the time when you can join so many different clubs to have as many experience as possible. However, one thing that we miss … or rather, one huge thing that I personally missed was the opportunity to cultivate great friendships with people. Sometimes, we focus so much on the experience, on what the club can provide for me, on how the activity can benefit my future career, and so on, that we miss the essential ingredient to our emotional (and spiritual) health. So, may I suggest that during your university life, focus more on enjoying deep and healthy friendships with people around you?
How can that glorify God? Well, God loves people, and He loves to bless people. And He wants you to enjoy His blessings too. So, perhaps what’s most glorifying to God during your uni life is to bless other people with your friendships and to enjoy God’s blessing through other people. We don’t want to manipulate people to achieve our particular agenda. However, if you love people well, it will definitely help the cause of the gospel to the lives of many unbelievers.
Of course, there are many more things that you can do to glorify God with your study. If you have more idea, I would love to hear from you.
However, I hope that this post has given an added dimension to what you have in mind. So… give your best during your study, use your time well to have some good habits cultivated, and enjoy healthy and life-giving relationships with people. Be a good steward, build characters, and bless people. Do them all for the glory of God.