God of the degree

Is God bothered about essays, exams and seminar prep, or is he just interested in how well we connect with our course mates, so that we can tell them about Jesus?

If uni is just about meeting people who we can tell about how God loves them and wants a friendship with them, then let’s all quit the degrees now and apply for full time jobs on campus bars and cleaning the halls. That way we will still meet the people anyway. 

If God doesn’t care about our actual, literal, deadlined, examined degree work, why work at all?

The God I know is creative. So creative he made everything out of nothing and enjoyed it. The God I know loves to work, so much so he decided to give himself his own tasks and schedule. Resting, then working, then resting again, an inseparable combination, setting up a rhythm of fulfilment. 

The God I know made men and women and immediately delegated creative work for them to do and lead with him. He made humanity to rest and work all with and through him.

The God I know hasn’t changed. He hasn’t decided in the last few decades that work is a side issue, a take-it-or-leave-it bi-product of living lives to reflect his glory. From what I can tell, God still works and we are still made to rest and work too. 

So how do you work, as God created you to do, in your degree?

Colossians 3: 23-24

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

What does this look like? For me, I remember praying for God’s help and inspiration on creative projects, to find an idea or argument that would capture me. I also decided that I wanted to worship God by giving him my best, so I would always make my deadlines, be on time to my contact hours, always do the reading. I wanted to not just show up, but show up bringing everything I could of myself to the table, for God to use in my studies.

My dissertation was the biggest answer to prayer ever. I had been disillusioned with the prospect of a massive essay after the disappointment of not being able to do another project I’d hoped for. I wanted God to somehow redeem this final term of hard work, and make it something I could be passionate about as I did it. Incredibly, I ended up working with a theatre in prisons company (I’ve had a thing about prisons for years), the director of which is a Christian (what are the odds), I got to basically live at the Soho Theatre for a week, met ex-prisoners and wrote about hope, justice and even South Africa (a place that was already significant to me). I thoroughly enjoyed my dissertation and really believed in what I wrote.  

I didn’t spend my final term talking to my course mates about Jesus, with my essays as an awkward addition. I got my head down and worked my socks off in the library because God cares about what we put our hands to and where our heart is as we do it.

So here’s the question, I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and examples of this: how do you worship and reflect God in your degree?

Miriam Swanson

Global Student Mission Leader

Miriam helps equip the church for student mission internationally. She's based in the USA and hungry to see young adults follow Jesus with all of who they are. 

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