College for the Glory of God
Decades ago, a man named Walt Henrickson stated, “If you are at college for any other reason than to be a missionary for Jesus Christ, you are there for selfish, sinful reasons.”
Ouch. Hold on a minute, Walt.
When I read this the first time, I smiled, shook my head, and kept reading. Yet, that little phrase kept bugging me. I went back to it, determined to prove that he was being too radical and was simply using hyperbole. I had to shut the book. I kept telling myself that this guy was a fanatic and overzealous. He was using a blanket statement and went too far. Clearly, Mr. Henrickson did not realize all the benefits of college.
Ahh. There it is. The benefits…
Is that why I came to college? For the benefits?
I told myself no, but as I thought more about it, I realized that since I was a kid I had been told from every sphere of my life that I need to go to college so I can get a head start on life and make something of myself.
Ok, so what exactly does that mean?
That means that the average college graduate makes more money than the high school graduate – a fact I knew quite well. That means that I went to college to get a good degree, so I could get a good job, and that a good job was defined as one that made good money. I wasn’t even trying to get rich, though I was not at all opposed to the idea. I just did not want to be poor.
I did not want to buy a used car when I really wanted to buy a new one. I did not want to rent an apartment when I really wanted to buy a house. I did not want Taco Bell when I really wanted Ruth’s Chris. These may sound noble or harmless, but at the end of the day, whichever way you slice it, I went to college for me, not for God.
At last, Henrickson’s statement made sense. I thought being a Christian at college was just something I did in private and on Sunday mornings. The rest of the week was for me and my future. This tiny little statement from Walt Henrickson changed my life. I finally realized that my time on my campus was for God’s glory and that my degree was secondary.
Regardless of your motives, college is an investment. The question that you must answer is what sort of investment is it. Is it an investment in you? Or is it an investment in the Kingdom?
College is an investment. The question that you must answer is what sort of investment is it. Is it an investment in you? Or is it an investment in the Kingdom?
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying you should not go to college because only selfish people go to college. I want you to go to college. I am glad you are going to college. There are just some jobs that you cannot get without at least a four year degree.
What I am saying is this: don’t waste your college career on just a degree. If you spent the money and put the work in only to get a degree, you have missed out on an amazing opportunity. You need a paradigm shift.
Most Christian students think like this: I am a college student and can do ministry in my free time.
What if, instead of thinking that, we thought like this: I am missionary to this campus for a limited amount of time and God has blessed me with an opportunity to get a degree, too.
Just a slight change of phrasing brings on an entire paradigm shift to the way we think as college students. Yet, if you want to make a lasting impact for the kingdom on your campus, it is a necessary shift.
You are only a college student for a short amount of time. Give your time and money to what matters most. Leave a legacy of disciple making and Gospel presence on your campus. I promise you, those who sacrifice most always carry the biggest smile. What we think will be a sacrifice rarely is. And even so, there are too many hurting people in need of the hope that only Jesus can offer for us to sit back and do nothing.
Let’s do whatever it takes. Jesus is worthy.