World Changers New Orleans, 2014. Lower Ninth Ward Crew of Students working on a house. Summer Staffers Sarah Horton and Megan Tilman (Navy WC Tees on left).
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
Oh how I give thanks throughout the year: Thank you Lord for the new school year! Thank you Lord for Fall/Spring Break! Thank you Lord for a light hurricane season! Consider yourself blessed if hurricanes are not your concern. Thank you Lord for Mardi Gras Break! Feel free to join us for those festivities down on the coast. Thank you Lord for exams being over! Thank you Lord for Commencement!
My thankfulness seems to have a fixed schedule, almost as predictable as the seasons. During the academic grind of the school year, I seem to forget a critical element of focused thankfulness, that my students are incredible people rather than “just” scholars.
As an accidental yearly dose of medicine, I’ve recently had the pleasure of working side-by-side with some amazing college students laboring physically, mentally, and spiritually. This work with a mission organization uses construction projects and physical labor as a means to share the gospel with homeowners and neighborhoods in North America.
During these summer weeks, a handful of college students pour their hearts, minds, and bodies into setting up these projects and serving in the name of Christ. Exhaustion and being away from their comfortable culture, homes, and friends depletes their drained reservoirs as Christ fills them back up.
One week this summer the college team and I had worked from 9 am until 2 am unloading and setting up the project in the summer heat of New Orleans. This entailed setting up showers and a shower trailer, a worship area at a separate site, housing at two separate K-12 schools and preparing our hearts for the task of welcoming the 275 youth and adults. At 2 am we were exhausted. As we went to bed, on air mattresses in kindergarten classrooms, I locked myself out of my room. My bed and pillow called my name, and I could not answer. My only recourse was to tell the college team. In a moment of extreme frustration, their attitudes amazed me and refreshed me. First they laughed, then seeing my despair, they quickly pulled together a makeshift bed for the night and even offered their beds. I had only known them for a day and they were offering their beds to me. I was moved.
Sharing these physically demanding weeks of summertime service allows me for a moment to see these scholars as purpose-driven servants with a desire to learn, grow, share and represent Christ as an adult life choice. I can see them as whole people rather than singular students. Their passions, love, and drive to fulfill the Great Commission challenge me to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The rejuvenation I experience through serving along side such passionate students, encourages me to bring back that passion to my campus.
Do you remember a physical experience that pushed you to examine yourself?
What steps will you take to be challenged in your faith by students?
You have created us to be multifaceted and talented in Your name. Help us to focus our efforts to do all things in Your name with great thankfulness. Teach us to learn from our scholarly students in whatever means you desire. Align our hearts, minds, and bodies to your will. Thank you for your sacrifice and grace. Come soon. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.