Are you a fresher? If so this one's for you...
This baby is cute - don't deny it, I bet half you you clicked through to this blog on the strength of that baby's cute face. There has been a recent baby boom at my church and one thing that bowls me over is the adoration that these parents have for the smallest thing their kid does. Luke here, in the office, is never happier than when he's telling us about Morgan's latest achievement - even if that achievement is his first ever fart! Check out one of my favourite verses ever, cos I think it has some pretty profound things to say to freshers just now...
‘To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ Is.9:6 (NIV).
Did you ever think how random it is that Jesus is announced here first as a child?! Rather than go straight for the big titles, the big purpose, he's announced first as a child, as a son. He was precious as a child and son before he did anything. As you freshers travel to new places, your new university city will have been mostly decided due to academic or experiential merit. I think it’s important that you know that you are loved first just as you. You are not important because you got the grades. You are not special because you managed to boss that interview and earn your place with the big boys at that uni of your dreams. Equally if you’ve ended up at your second choice of uni, you are no less special than those who got into their first choices. You are no less significant because you’ve ended up at a different place to where you expected, but still exactly where God would have you. You are precious because you are a child of God. He knew you before you were even formed – he loved you before he made you. Even then he knew you, before you did anything, even breathe! You are precious not because of any place you’ve earned or haven’t earned, you are precious because you are precious, because you are a child, a son or a daughter of the Lord most high God.
Secondly, even from this point, speaking to Isaiah, God had in mind the purposes Jesus was called to. He knew the man he’d be, what he’d be called to be. God’s been speaking to me a lot over the last couple of days about what I’m called to be – the things that he’s got in mind for me to bring to the world and those things matter, they’re important. He has things which he has made us for. Our worth to God is not dependent on these things, rather these things are there for us to be a part of because he places great worth on us. Because he rates us, he's calls us to join with him. What a privilege!
What are the things that God has in mind for you to be? Are you an encourager? Are you a preacher of truth and words of freedom? Are you a great friend, who comes alongside the broken? Are you a partier, a great celebrator of life? Are you steadfast? Are you an ideas person, always with the solution, always with the way forward? These years at university are a great opportunity to discover who you are. Let me encourage you to hold it all in the right perspective as you do. First and foremost you are a child of God, precious and beloved, nothing can separate you from that love. Secondly you are called to be a co-worker for his kingdom, a part of his body, the church, and a great blessing to the nations and especially those on your doorstep. You are loved as you are, called for a purpose.
May God show you many great things that he has in store for you to be a part of while you’re at uni, and most of all may he reveal to you even just the smallest bit (which is about as much as you could cope with) of his great love for you, just as you are, wherever you are, right now.