Students live very busy lives. How do you fit the commands of Jesus to “make disciples”, “love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself” into classes, work, and extracurricular activities. The key is what Jesus says in Matthew 28:19, “As you are going…”
Living missionally is not something we “fit” into our lives, it must be a natural part of who we are as followers of Jesus.
A Jewish leader once asked Jesus about the greatest commandment in the law (Matthew 22:36). Jesus response in Matthew 22:37-40 resounds through time to resonate in the hearts of all who follow him today. A similar situation occurred in Luke 10:25-29 when another Jewish leader asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. In telling the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus clearly articulates that we must not just claim to have faith, but put it into action in practical ways every day. The apostle James states this bluntly when he says in James 2:17, “In the same way, faith, if doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.”
So just how can a student be obedient to the commands of Jesus and live a radically missional lifestyle?
- Choose a major or vocation with the intent of having it be a platform for sharing the gospel. As a math teacher in a public high school, my wife interacts with non-Christians, both students and faculty, much more often than I often do as a person in vocational ministry. Recognize too, that most any vocation can be used as a platform for sharing the gospel if we do so with intent.
- Decide how you will spend the financial and time resources that God provides for you. Life is full of decisions. Consciously or unconsciously, students often develop and set patterns while they are in school for how they will live the rest of their lives. If you decide as a student that you will live simply, not accumulate lots of possessions, drive a used car, live on 75% of your income and give away or save 25% then you can do so all your life. It is much harder to make adjustments to your lifestyle after you have graduated, married and bought a home. This may also extend to the idea of working more while you are in college, borrowing less money to go to school and paying for college as you go. Student loan debt is a huge hindrance to many individuals who believe God is calling them to vocational ministry or missions.
- Connect with non-Christians through hobbies, activities, volunteering, and meals. Just about any hobby, activity or volunteer/community service can become “other focused” or an opportunity to share life with people who have yet to choose to follow Jesus. Since we all have to eat, be intentional about meeting and making new friends through talking over a meal.
- Serve your neighbors and classmates by cleaning, cooking or helping them with their homework. Demonstrate genuine concern for people and don’t just do something for show. International students may need someone to take them shopping, learn English or how to cook using American appliances.
- Listen. Too often Christ followers want so much to share the Good News that they talk too much. Learn to be a good listener and fellow students will be more willing to hear what you have to say about Jesus.
-Guest Blogger Van Simmons, Campus Strategist, IMB.