By Ashton Smith, Contributing Writer
You walk into the GC, see your friends sitting on those familiar couches, and you decide to join them.
The conversation, of course, is about school and classes and the copious amounts of homework in everyone’s lives.
Someone comments, “Why do teachers give us so much homework? Don’t they know we already only get like, maybe four hours of sleep a night?”
Someone else pipes in “I have a ten-page essay due by tonight at midnight, and I’m only two pages in. I’m going to get three hours of sleep, MAYBE.”
One more student decides to throw in her voice: “I have a Civ test tomorrow, and I have no clue what I’m doing, what my thesis is going to be or how I’m going to relate anything back to the prompt. I’M GOING TO HAVE TO PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER.”
And thus the circle goes on and on— students trying to make their lives sounds just as bad, if not worse, than their neighbor.
But should we, as Christians, really be playing this “who has it worse?” game when we all have it so good?
Think about it; we’re all in college getting to study something to pursue later on in life as a career.
We all have meal swipes, provided and paid for by our tuition, along with housing, facilities in which to clean ourselves, technology made available at every turn and much, much more.
So. . .should we be complaining about that essay we put off until the last minute or that Spanish homework we keep saying we’ll come back to later?
There are people all over the world who would do anything to obtain the kind of education we so flippantly bemoan and the kind of resource we take for granted every day.
Yes, you may not be thrilled for that one general education class you were forced to take in order to graduate, but the information and experience will help you move forward in your education as a person.
You may never think about that calculus class ever again once you’re done with it, but the credits brought you one step closer to graduation, the info was tucked away in your mind and the basic experience of persevering added to your character.
You got so much more out of those three credits than lost sleep and stress—you added to the person you want to be.
ALL of our experiences in elementary, middle, high school and college are working to form us into well-rounded members of society. In order to do that, you will have to be at least introduced to all areas of study, even those that don’t interest us as much.
So instead of complaining to friends about how much work you have to do this week, I challenge you to actually do it, and to get it done earlier than the night before its due date.
God has given us this life to live, and we should take advantage of as many learning opportunities as possible while we are in school because our time here is limited—on this campus and on this earth. We should all embrace educational opportunities; after all, why else are we here?
Remember the Parable of Talents? In order to experience returns on any investment, you must renew your commitment and be willing to take risks in order to see that investment grow. If you bury your talents in the ground, you just end up burying your potential as well.
Educational challenges aren’t the only area in which we fail to recognize blessings. We complain when we don’t have any choices, and we complain when we have too many.
For example, go out to the Salvation Army or to Community Renewal and help out the people there for just a little while, and you’ll soon realize just how good your life is in comparison.
Students complain about cafeteria food all the time, but they (including me) don’t recognize that we are complaining about our many culinary choices: pizza, the salad bar, the pasta or the stir-fry.
As we look at our many options, we make pejorative comments about each option—we complain about a bounty.
At homeless shelters, however, there simply is no room for complaints because most people are grateful for the meal.
Think about that next time you say the caf’s chicken is dried out or that they still don’t have those chicken nuggets we all want so badly.
The very fact that we have the freedom to complain about the abundance of meals certainly qualifies as a “first-world problem,” and perhaps we should try to recognize (and maybe even curtain) feelings of entitlement.
Pretty soon we’ll be out in the big, bad world and we’ll have bigger, more pressing problems than ten-page essays and Civ exams. We’ll have to worry about paying rent and completing taxes—stretching paychecks and paying back loans. This time in our lives is like the calm before the storm.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could focus on the beauty of the moment instead of what we may be missing? Too often we fail to see the grace in God’s gifts and we only recognize those blessings when they are gone.
So step back for a moment and realize how good you have it. You’re at OBU for four years of your life, so why spend those four years complaining? Be grateful that you have this community and an opportunity to grow and learn from it—all of it.
Embrace the bounty and the benefits, as well as the losses and angst. All of it contributes to your character, so you can decide now to utilize every moment to reflect the Kingdom; your attitude can become a mirror for grace.
The beautiful thing about the human condition is the very thing that frightens us—our mortality.
We have such a limited time on earth, so there is a sense of urgency in all we do, all we experience.
That urgency can be profound, though.
So much depends on this moment, and how it lends itself to the next. All of it, every bit of it (even the heartbreak, stress and disappointment) is part of the gift of existence.
Take that in, savor the brevity by reveling in what He has given us all.