Arriving five minutes early is on time; arriving at the time specified is late. Rack up some volunteer hours to be accepted into that program. It’ll look good on your resume even if you don’t enjoy the job.
Don’t use your skips unless you physically can’t come to class. Where do you see yourself in five years? If you work hard enough, you’ll be successful. Time is money, and there’s never enough of either.
In this age of materialism, life becomes a chase after reward. Whether that be fame, success, money or, for college students especially, a GPA, everyone is encouraged to pursue some kind of measurable reward. During college, grades can become the reward. Pull an all-nighter if you have to. Don’t hang out with your friends when you should be studying.
You think you’re busy now? Just wait till you get to “real life,” when you have to get a job and be successful in that job to provide for yourself.
Eventually, this mentality breaks down into a pattern of waiting. Work now, reward later. Once you get a good job, you work toward the next promotion. Once you’re promoted, you work to expand the company. There is no finish line in the rat race.
But where does God fit into the rat race? When we put aside anything that doesn’t result in a practical benefit, we might find making room for God in our lives difficult. Our relationship with God is not measured by something as concrete as money or grades.
So, we leave the Bible on the shelf while we study for that test. We tell ourselves we’ll read it in the morning—and then oversleep our alarms because of exhaustion.
Sometimes we even tell ourselves that we’ll have time to read when we finally enter “real life.” After all, this season is simply preparation, right? We plan to serve God with our careers, which don’t begin until after college.
But life is so much more than material things. Life is not a race resulting in measurable material possessions. Life is a story created by God, one that includes roles for each of His creations—roles like a parent, an employee or a student.
These roles are not just preparation for something more; they are simply parts of the whole. God does not ask for us to serve Him when we’re ready. He calls us to serve Him in each role He gives us. The “real life” we’re living is the unseen spiritual life layered over everything we do.
And God’s Word is nothing like our textbooks or work emails. His Word is food. Going without food isn’t just inconvenient or upsetting; it’s dangerous. When we sacrifice taking care of ourselves spiritually for measurable rewards, we starve ourselves spiritually, making us weak and ineffective. In preparing for what we perceive as “real life,” we neglect our real spiritual lives.
Without the spiritual strength we should develop through prayer and Bible reading, we may miss opportunities to represent Christ well. The sacrifice of our own spiritual strength could mean the sacrifice of someone else’s opportunity to learn the Gospel, an enormous loss that’s difficult to measure.
If we have to sacrifice something for the sake of another priority, the sacrifice should not be our walk with God. Sometimes we must leave our emails unwritten or go unprepared into a test to feed ourselves spiritually. A letter grade is not worth giving up spending time with God daily.
Our spiritual lives are not another element to add to a chase for measurable reward. Spending time with God is not just another part of the rat race. Real life is now, in whatever stage or season we are, and we must live it now.