By: Abby Hughes, Resonate CWU Staff
132 million. That’s how many dollars would be wired into your bank account if you won the Powerball lottery this year. Thousands of people gamble for the chance to win a prize based on complete luck. Luck, a word we use to describe a state of good fortune, is based on random workings of the “nameless universe.” We were “lucky” to receive an A on the test we didn’t study for, “lucky” that the cop who pulled us over for speeding didn’t give us a ticket, and “lucky” we didn’t sit next to the guy in class with blinding B.O.
As you start a new school year, with your new shoes and loose leaf notebooks, I beg you to eliminate luck from your vocabulary. When you step through the doors of your classroom and see a group of strangers (or one stranger, if you’re the type who gets to class 20 minutes early on the first day), what if you saw those people as God's providence toward you? Providence, an unfamiliar word for most of us. Unlike luck, providence is acknowledging the creator’s sovereign and purposeful display of care and goodness towards us. Acts 17:26 says that “God appointed for people the time they should live, their time in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Your time here is not an accident, your class schedule is not an accident, nor is it dependent on luck. You are a part of God's redemptive plan for your classmates who don’t know him.
This idea is found all over scripture. Colossians 1:13 tells us that the minute you surrendered your life, your accomplishments, and your plans to Jesus, He rescued you from the kingdom of darkness, reconciled you by Christ’s body through death to present you holy in his sight (Colossians 1: 22), redeemed you from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), and gave you the ministry of reconciliation. You are Christ’s ambassador, God makes his appeal to the world through you (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
The girl next to you in Chemistry 101 may not know it, but God is pursuing her soul and He wants you to tell her. I know it's tempting to go to class and check out, or to just sit next to your friends you already know. But because the Bible is true and tells us we are “living in a war not of flesh and blood, but things seen and unseen” (Ephesians 6:12), then it is our joy to be “agents of reconciliation” to a world (or a classroom of students) who may not know the soul transforming truth that Jesus is Lord.
Understanding God's providence in my classroom changed the way I took classes in college. From my own Chemistry 101 class, to a dozen more I took in college, I was able to see firsthand God’s sovereignty in pursuing my classmates who I never would have met before. Many of these classmates proclaimed to be “far from God.” Yet because I developed relationships with them outside of the classes we shared, I was able to gain their trust and eventually share the gospel in Mexican restaurants, messy apartments, and my beat up Mazda.
As you follow Jesus in bringing His kingdom to your classroom, here’s a helpful battle plan:
The Bible says God is able to do “far more than we can ever ask or imagine,” (Ephesians 3:20) so beg God to do things on your campus and in your classroom that would point to His glory. Pray for boldness confidence, and look for where you can join what He is already doing in the lives of those around you.
After your heart is primed in prayer for those around you, act on it! The God of the heavens and earth is making an appeal through you; rejoice that you have nothing to fear when it can feel awkward or strange to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Ask good questions, follow up on conversations, and make plans to study or eat lunch after class. Master the art of being a good, gospel friend.
You may be the only person pursuing people in your classes, but resist the temptation to do it alone. The early church exploded because people saw the way Christian communities were different and wanted to be a part of it. Don’t be an island without any harbors; pursue people together with your community and keep each other accountable. Introduce your classmates to your friends, commit to praying for breakthroughs together, and hold each other’s feet to the fire to be the salt and light on your campus. It's better this way and a whole lot more fun.
19.9 million. That’s how many college students are enrolled in universities across America and 30 of them will sit next to you in class this week. How is God commanding you to pursue your classmates in light of His mission?