If you happen to be reading this and you’re in college, then you understand why this time of the year is the worst. That’s right, it is finals season! It seems like every year I walk in with a confidence to do better with my stress about school and especially with finals yet every time I enter that last week, I have lost all confidence, motivation, and desire to be in school. I cannot tell you how many times I have called my mom telling her I am dropping out or that college is just a scam. It’s the most wonderful time of the year (he says sarcastically).
It does seem, however, that there comes a pattern with my faith every time I enter this season. With each passing project, paper, and exam that goes with every holiday, gift for friends, travel plans with family, it is so easy for my faith to take a backseat. And recently, God has been revealing this and my lack of desperation for Him.
So, this letter is a challenge for you but is also a challenge for me. In fact, it’s really just a response from my own conviction. The other morning, I woke up and immediately felt overwhelmed about school. The projects, the finals, the papers, the hours I have to put in at work, all just piled on at 8 o’clock in the morning. I felt so overwhelmed, then God overwhelmed me with something else. He overwhelmed me with the thought of the students around me that are going through the same stress, the same overwhelming anxiety, yet they do not have the same God I have. And if they don’t have the same God that can get them through finals and the stress of school, what about their everyday lives outside of the classroom? Their relationship issues. Their addictions. Their worries about finances. This broke me down because God revealed how my lack of desperation for Him has caused me to have a lack of compassion for others. For if I am struggling with God, how are they even surviving? Then, of course, I think about their lives after this earth. If they do not have God, they have nothing. No heavenly home. No eternal life. Nothing. In Matthew 9, Jesus gives the famous verse, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” But in verse 36, just before this, it says that Jesus had compassion when he saw the crowd of lost people. And it broke him. He saw that they were helpless and harassed, “like sheep without a shepherd.”
Listen, there should be this type of compassionate yet desperate response for the Gospel and for the lost every single day. And the problem is that I look at our ministries, our small groups, our churches, even those in the pulpits on Sunday mornings, and I ask the question: where is our urgency for the lost to hear the Gospel? Not just those in our church buildings, but those outside of it. We have been distracted by so many things, sometimes even good things. Whether it be teaching on a Sunday morning, going to a small group, or even just finishing that big 10-page paper by the end of the week, these are often than not really good things that have great benefits. But if these things are keeping us from having a deep compassion and desperation for others to hear the Gospel, then these distractions need to disappear.
My challenge for us, whether we are in school or not, is to take a step back and be reminded to have a desperate urgency to know the Gospel and to share it. I have not been doing a great job of this myself this semester; however, our busyness should not be an excuse that keep us from having this urgent compassion for those around us. For if we are too busy for the Gospel, then we are too busy. But those in your classrooms, those sitting in the cubicle across from yours, or even the guy that you have known for years, should spark a desire for them to know what you know. We should have a desire for them to know the same Gospel, the same grace and same power that resurrected Christ from the dead that now lives within us. The things that we know need to be shared and we should have a desire to do so. And no amount of finals, holiday busyness, work or anything thing else should keep us distracted from this desire.