For a few brief years you may hear this phrase by well meaning adults, “Remember… You are a student first”.
While the intention may be noble, the message is flawed.
Yes, students need to focus on their studies while in high school or college. They do not need to get the balance of social life, work, school and many other activities so out of whack that academic discipline takes a backseat.
But are you really a student “First”? Is there not a more important mission and goal of life even during the years in which you are a student? Is there a broader perspective that allows your identity to remain intact even beyond school and career decisions?
The answer is a resounding “YES”. Paul says to the Corinthian believers, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)
Let this dominate our identity in all stages of our life, from student to career to family, to everything! This clip says it beautifully in 1:48 of your day, that will be well spent. Watch it and be encouraged.
If you haven’t been following the NFL this year, the big story is how the veteran (and highly skilled) referee crew is on a lock out over pension contract issue. This video will go down in history in connection with these “replacement” refs. Check out some of the backlash.
It is a desperation “Hail Mary” pass in the last seconds of the game. Seattle Seahawks are down by 5. The pass is intercepted…no it is caught, no…we don’t know what happened! The two corner refs run in on the scene and simultaneously declare opposite calls. Which call stands determines who wins this Monday Night Football showdown.
No matter where you stand on this now infamous piece of officiating, let me throw out a few thoughts:
No one is perfect: not the refs (for sure), but also, not the league and commissioner for allowing this lock out to persist so long. Not the coaches and players who have been bullying these replacement refs. And not even the media who has railed on these refs since the first game of the season. This season has reminded me of the selfishness that comes to light in high pressure moments. Man, no one is perfect.
Greed drives the bus: the NFL is a 9 billion dollar industry. Yet this lock out of the veteran refs is over an accumulated 3 million in pension funds. Where is the perspective here!?! Why can these people not work out their financial issues before the football season begins? Greed. Getting all we can get when we can get it. Being self centered. For goodness sakes, when the NFL highlights a spiritual condition of the heart, you know it is serious!
Everything in this world will let us down: If you love football, and end up on the wrong side of a call like this, it can be a huge disappointment. While everything in this world will fail, there is One who is completely trustworthy. Where refs and all men will get it wrong eventually, Jesus Christ get it right.
There are more important things in life than sports: As much as I love football, I understand that life is more than sports. I was just speaking to an FCA this morning and reminding them of Matt 6:33, which says our first and greatest priority in life is His Kingdom and His righteousness, and if we get that priority right everything else will fall into the correct place.
Most students are out of class for the summer. Ah, sweet freedom! In the words of the Phineas and Ferb theme song,
There’s 104 days of summer vacation
And school comes along just to end it.
So the annual problem for our generation
Is finding a good way to spend it.
How to spend those precious summer month? What a dilemma. From my perspective, there are two possibilities. Action or Apathy. If you want to take the apathy route, here are 8 great ways to waste your summer.
Dive into Media Quicksand: Go ahead and waste your summer by spending ever increasing hours on xbox, Facebook, Netflix, Youtube, etc. By doing this you will lose contact with real people and effectively weaken the relationships that matter most. All while you could have built them up during the freedom of summer break. While we all use these avenues, moderation is key. Don’t sacrifice real relationships unintentionally!
Cruise the Strip: While there is some social interaction here, it is limited, and may include police officers. Plus, with the price of gas skyrocketing, cruising around town is not worth the small fortune it would take to maintain this summer activity. There are better ways to connect with friends who will build you up.
Sleep-in: Don’t get me wrong here. The absence of school makes it nice to get some extra shuteye. But if your alarm is set for noon everyday, you can kiss your summer goodbye. Don’t sleep away your freedom! This is the time to get up and make some memories.
Skip Church: With school out of session it is easy to lose your weekly routine. Don’t forget that church hasn’t stopped! Use the summer to spend more time, NOT LESS, with the people who positively impact you. Go to church camp, attend small groups, go hang out with your youth pastor! Take the summer to be a leader among your peers, not an absentee afterthought.
Be Self-centered: A great way to waste your summer is to think everything is about you and your sweet tan. Sure, go ahead and only do what fits in your schedule of self gratification and see who wants to join in. Instead, why not make the summer exceptional by volunteering at the local mission, visiting a nursing home, helping out your youth pastor. The more you give of yourself, the more you will receive. A summer of service will grow you in tremendous ways. A summer of self-centered living will be soon forgotten (along with that tan).
Waiting on Mr./Ms. Beautiful: With extra time on your hands, don’t fall to the temptation of becoming a Facebook stalker. Don’t mope around waiting for a call or text; trust God with your relationships. Take the summer to invest in your friendships that will last a lifetime, not a potential one time date of cheap pizza and a movie. Prioritize dating relationships in an age appropriate manner with a well balanced summer.
Ignore your Spiritual Life: The summer months are a unique time to grow spiritually. Ignore this fact if you want to waste your summer. You can build a habit of reading God’s Word first thing every morning. (even if its 9am!) During these months you can develop accountability with a small group in a very special way. Iron sharpens iron, so find time to make that happen. And don’t forget your prayer life. Make a list and follow through. Summer time is a great way to build off the momentum of church events and grow spiritually in your personal walk with Christ. Build the habits you will need when school begins (and all of life)!
Avoid all Responsibility: A summer where you don’t grow is a wasted summer. Take the next steps in your maturity by tackling responsibility, not avoiding it. Get a summer job, help out around the house, be a mentor for the kid down the street. When we embrace responsibility, more freedom is earned because we are mature enough to handle it. Check out Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris. It is a phenomenal book on rebelling against the low expectations for teenagers today. Maybe this would be a good summer read!
Don’t waste your summer, make it count! Remember 1 Cor. 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” So get out there and glorify God in the way you spend your summer vacation!