All the World's a Classroom
This storm is ridiculous. How are we ever going to get to the other side? We move an inch forward and five backward. Water keeps coming in, and the twelve pair of hands’ effort to throw it out is simply futile. Is nature making a joke out of our misery? I am so sick and tired of this!
Where is Jesus anyway? I don’t understand why He didn’t come with us. Why did He tell us to go? And I don’t understand why He told the crowd to leave as well. We were about to take over the world! We had such a great time on the mountain. Five thousand plus men were there, and that’s not counting the women and children. How did that turn into this? Why can’t the good times last?
It is now the fourth watch of the night. We’re exhausted. I’m tired of fighting. I just want to curl up and die…
What is that in the shadow? It has the shape of a man, but what kind of man walks on turbulent water?
“It’s a ghost,” someone gasps with wide eyes.
The sounds of our heartbeats seem to take over the sounds of the winds. Someone’s hands are trembling so hard he drops the oar into the water.
“Don’t be afraid. It’s me,” says the man in the shadow. It sounds awfully like Jesus.
This wouldn’t be the first time He surprises me. He has a mysterious way of coming out of left field. I just can’t predict what He’s going to do next.
Well, if it is really Jesus, I can do a little test right?
“Lord, if it’s you, command me to come to You on the water.”
Did I really just say that?
Okay, I don’t really expect that response, but I kind of do too. Something in His voice just sounds so sure, it makes the water seems like a glassy floor.
I know that He has come through for me in the past. Even though I feel a little disappointed with Him recently, it always seems like He has another plan in mind that turns out better than expected.
I think I can take my chances.
Eyes forward. I’m stepping out.
“Some folks look with dread upon the thought of having to wage a continual warfare with self and worldly lusts. That is because they do not as yet know anything about the joy of victory; they have experienced only defeat. But it isn’t so doleful a thing to battle constantly, when there is continual victory. The old veteran of a hundred battles, who has been victorious in every fight, longs to be at the scene of conflict. Alexander’s [the Great] soldiers, who under his command never knew defeat, were always impatient to be led into the fray. Each victory increased their strength, which was born only of courage, and correspondingly diminished that of the vanquished foe… Here is the secret of strength. It is Christ, the Son of God, the one to whom all power in Heaven and earth is given, who does the work.” (E. J. Waggoner in Lessons on Faith, p. 3-4)
What would you do, if you knew you couldn’t fail?
As a 21st century global citizen, a student at a secular university, and a worker in the circuit of campus ministry who lives in an urban(ish) culture, I live a very cerebral life. The bulk of my daily tasks is done in front of a computer and my brain is always doing this funny activity called thinking. Even my service activities in campus ministry are mostly cerebral.
While intellectualism has its rigor, if not balanced with other aspects of life, it can exhaust one to the very core, no matter if that intellectualism comes from academia, work, or ministry.
Since I first was introduced to campus ministry about 8.5 years ago, I’ve participated, undergone training, led, and taught others to give Bible studies, prayer meetings, visitations, and organize events. These components have made up the bulk of campus ministry activities that I’ve experienced thus far, and they have revived many out of spiritual slumber. But I have come to believe that this branch of ministry still lacks a very important component in its participants’ spiritual walk: service.
Yes, all of the aforementioned components are a form of service. But what I mean here is simply doing good for humanity and exercising compassion for the human family.
I think we already do some level of service in campus ministry through our investment in students, in friendships, and in mentor-mentee relationships. Yet the human family is much wider than just the campus community; it extends to the entire geographical span of our planet, as well as those in the past and future of this world. Perhaps, by reaching out to the greater sphere of humanity, our campuses will be more revived too.
It is not the abundance of your meetings that God accepts. It is not the numerous prayers, but the rightdoing, doing the right thing and at the right time. It is to be less self-caring and more benevolent. Our souls must expand. Then God will make them like a watered garden, whose waters fail not. (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church Vol. 2, p. 35,36)
There are certain aspects of our character that will never be developed unless we go out and serve others as God wants us to do. Our souls must break through the wall of self and feel a tender sympathy for humanity that is not mere sentimentalism. This is what our Divine example, Jesus Christ, did on earth. He went about doing good.
Wouldn’t it be something if all campus ministers have the perfect symmetry in character development, becoming holistic human beings and holistic Christians? What would it look like to have a generation of students who love God supremely and love others as themselves? After all, the two greatest commandments are not mutually exclusive. As it has been sung before, “To love another person is to see the face of God..”