October 15, 2018
According to a recent study, the per cent of college graduates who are able to get a job in their field of study is on the rise. In addition, the starting salary graduates can expect in their first job is also increasing. Just a few short years ago the percent of college graduates who were able to get a job in their field of study was at an all-time low. As educators and parents we are wise to be aware of all the factors and statistics relevant to the success of our students as they go beyond the walls of our school and enter college and eventually the workforce.
I would like to suggest that there is another workforce that we need to be equally concerned about for our students and graduates, that is the workforce of serving God. Recent statistics from a study by The Barna Group show, “…that despite strong levels of spiritual activity during the teen years, most twentysomethings disengage from active participation in the Christian faith during their young adult years and often beyond that. In total, six out of ten twenty somethings were involved in a church during their teen years, but failed to translate that into active spirituality during their early adulthood.” Each of us know well, through our own experiences, the challenges and obstacles that face a young adult as they enter college and the workforce. We are also aware of the pitfalls along the way regarding our commitment to God, and the challenges that arise from being “out on our own” and away from parental restraint.
There is a passage in the Matthew 25 where Jesus told a story about talents. In His parable the talents represented a monetary investment, but the principle of the story can apply to any area of our lives. Jesus explained how a man gave three of his servants three different amounts of money that they were to be responsible for during the next year. As the story goes, two of the servants invested the money given to them and after a year presented the master with twice as much as he had allowed them to control. Matthew 25:21, “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” The third man, however, buried the money and after a year could only dig it up and ask for the master to praise him for not losing it completely. The response was much different. Matt 25:26-29, “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”
The graduates of Florida Christian School all possess unique talents and disposition in life. They begin life with varying degrees of knowledge, initiative, and resources, but according to Jesus, what matters isn’t what they are given, it is what they do with their talent, initiative and resources that really matters. The lesson to be learned for our students, and for us as adults as well, can be directly related to all of the statistics we read about jobs, success, and even staying true to one’s faith. Some of our students have been blessed with a lot of talent and ability, while others are very average and have to work hard for everything they get. Jesus’ lesson is that whatever a person is given in life, if they do the best they possibly can with it, and even though their gains appear small by the world’s standard, according to the standard Jesus speaks of, they have still accomplished much. Our society teaches our students to gauge their success by how big and how much. The standard Jesus talked about was doing the best we can with what we are given.
How does the understanding of this Biblical truth about money tie into serving God? I believe that recent generations, who seem to be gravitating away from the church, are not necessarily walking away from their belief in God, but certainly from serving God. David Kinnaman, the director of the research at Barna, pointed out, “There is considerable debate about whether the disengagement of twentysomethings is a life stage issue, that is, a predictable element in the progression of people’s development as they go through various family, occupational and chronological stages, or whether it is unique to this generation..….when and if young adults do return to churches, it is difficult to convince them that a passionate pursuit of Christ is anything more than a nice add on to their cluttered lifestyle.” Our young people need to understand that in life, true satisfaction and success is related more to their commitment to do their best with what they have been given and less to position and wealth as the world measures success and not to give their best can result in the loss of what they have been given in the first place. In the same way, their spiritual walk with God depends on using the gifts and talents God has uniquely given to them in the best way they can. When a person, young or old, truly understands that their unique spiritual gifts, when used to the best of their ability, are blessed by God, but if not used can be taken away, they will choose to serve God.
Maybe we haven’t done a very good job in instructing them how life really works. God’s Word is true, and His promises are sure. Doing our best with what we have been given is a true formula for success in our personal life and career, and in our spiritual service to God. We need to practice this principle and pass it along to a generation in need of real answers about their economic and spiritual future.