Tech students are a lot of things, but if you ask one of us, there is a good chance that “busy” will be the best way to describe us. Busy trying to keep up with classes. Busy trying to keep Hope. Busy trying to get that perfect job. Busy trying to keep up relationships with friends and family. Busy with a whole host of things that are important to our well-being and future. In the midst of all this business, one question always sits in the back of my mind. Are the things I devote my time to the things that God wants me to be doing?
The tough part about asking this question is that there is often no direct answer. Sometimes when I realize that I have been wasting time on the internet, I know that I could be using my time more productively. But in the case of whether to join my friends going out to watch a movie or study a few extra hours for a test that I know will be tough, can I surely know what God would want me to do? This particular situation may be slightly contrived, but similar circumstances happen often in life, and they always leave me wondering what God thinks I should do. I recently learned that the answer might not be exactly what I expected.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (10:31) At first glance, this seems to offer no help at all to the situation. Paul is simply offering a reminder to the Galatians to glorify God in all of their actions. But looking a little deeper, there is a real freedom in what Paul is saying. Instead of telling the Corinthians to pray three times a day and call their parents on the weekends, he tells them to glorify God in whatever they do. There is no checklist of things that we have to do in order to make God happy. Instead, God wants us to worship Him through our actions. He wants us to do things in a way that bring Him glory.
This kind of thinking has been very tough to adopt. I have teachers telling me to spend 15 minutes reading the textbook every night and to start the homework at least a week before it is due. Georgia Tech gives me checklists to follow so that I can know I am on the way to success. But God works in a very different way. God gives us freedom to live in a way that makes use of the talents and opportunities we have been given, and asks only that we use these things to bring Him glory.
So instead of waking up in the morning and worrying about what has to get done that day, consider how that day can be a gift to God. Remember that God does not want us to blindly trying to fulfill commandments like the Pharisees, wasting our energy worrying about whether our prayers are worded well enough and our choices fit with “What Would Jesus Do.” Jesus spent a large amount of time trying to help the Pharisees realize that they had it wrong. They spent their time focusing on satisfying the laws and not worshipping the one who made them. So maybe instead of asking what God wants us to do today, we should consider how God wants us to live today. “For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)