Have we made an idol of school?
Do we bow to it before we bow to our Lord?
Do we place our value and worth in the hands of the grade book, instead of in the hands of our loving Father?

Sometimes.

I don’t think we intentionally worship school. In fact, if you’re like me, the mere thought of worshiping school sounds revolting. Because we have become bored with our classes, school stresses us out, or we just plain don’t like school. Why on earth would we create an idol out of something that causes us so much worry?

Well, when we worry about something, we’re placing the object of our worry above God. It’s as if we’re saying God isn’t powerful enough to handle this. Worry reveals a lack of trust in God. 

We worry about school- homework, tests, grades, classes- so much! And where there’s worry, there’s a slave bound to it.

Jesus commands us not to worry.

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life…” Matthew 6:25

My pastor always says “Whenever you see a ‘therefore,’ you need to look and see what it’s there for.” So let’s look and see what comes before this therefore-do-not-worry, shall we?

Matthew 6:24-25 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life…”

Did you see that?

The “therefore” is following a warning about serving two masters! Our competing master may be money, but I propose it can also be school.

If we’re worrying about school and grades, then we’ve made that an idol in our lives.

If we're worrying about school and grades, then we've made that an idol in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want school to be a master of my life. I don’t want it to be something I place before God. I want God to come first in my life, even before school. What about you?

Quick round of true-false for you:

False: My grades determine my worth.

This is very, very false. Grades show what you’ve learned, based on a system that isn’t entirely fool-proof. Grades show your ability to test well, or not. Grades reflect how a professor deems you did on a project or test.

Grades do not show your worth.

True: My God determines my worth.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

God delights in you. He thinks you’re worth dying for. {“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8b}

Your worth doesn’t come from a grade. It comes from the One who made you. Who calls you by name and says you are His. Who sees every tear that comes from your eye. Who bore your sins on a cross because He loves you. Your worth comes from Jesus Christ.

False: Studying/ doing homework is the most important thing I can do.

Studying seems like a noble task. After all, the Bible warns against being lazy, too.

But when we place so much value on studying that we neglect our God and the people he has placed in our lives, this becomes a problem.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: People are more important than grades. 

If you stay up late comforting a friend who’s in tears, instead of studying for that test, that is good. Grades are temporary. Souls are eternal.

True: Loving God and loving people are the most important things I can do.

Jesus replied, ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself’.” Matthew 22:37,39

Are we loving God? Are we loving people? Are we acting upon that love? Because after all, love isn’t a feeling; it’s a verb.

If God comes first in our lives, everything else falls into place.

Including grades.

Let’s return to Matthew 6. Verse 33 tells us “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all theses things will be given to you as well.”

Does this mean we should ignore all our schoolwork and witness to people all the time? No. If you ignore your responsibilities for the sake of Christ, you will most likely fail your classes. That’s not what this verse is saying. Remember, it’s smack dab in the middle of a passage instructing us not to worry.

We need to seek first the kingdom of God in every aspect of our lives. 

When we’re seeking after God and have Him set on the driver’s seat of our hearts, then we don’t worry about our lives- grades, food, clothes, the works. We know that God has everything under control.

We need to treat our studying as an act of worshiping God.

Colosians 3:23 tells us to do everything to the glory of God. Last time I checked, “everything” includes studying.

So we don’t need to procrastinate. We don’t need to purposefully do poorly. We don’t need to make a habit of neglecting our responsibilities.

When we place God first in our lives, everything else falls into place. Including grades.

We need to learn to study to the glory of God. We need to do the best we can with the gifts and abilities He has given us. When we focus on Jesus and learning about Him through whatever it is we’re studying, that brings glory to God.

So to sum up:

  1. Don’t worry about your life.
  2. Seek God and everything will fall into place.
  3. Don’t turn school into an idol.

7 thoughts on “The idol called school.

  1. Rachel G

    I think this is all too easy of a mistake to make sometimes! School needs to be kept in it’s proper place. My sister is really good about that. One time, a well-intentioned family member told her, “School is the most important thing in your life right now!” and…well, she strongly disagreed with, “School will never ever ever be the most important thing in my life.” Serving God, loving his people, those will always come first for her, and that’s what I love about her. She gets all As in school anyways, but she doesn’t make a big deal about it.
    Rachel G recently posted…An Epic SandcastleMy Profile

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  2. Daisy @ Simplicity Relished

    Amen, girl! I think we often make academic success the most important thing in our lives. As students, it’s hard to take the focus off of that! I love that you shift it towards our love to each other and those around us. That’s what I tried to do when I was in college and I don’t have a single regret!

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    1. Kara Beth Post author

      Hi Daisy! I agree, we do tend to make academic success the top priority, all the while forgetting about the people God has placed around us. I’m glad you have no regrets about putting others first while in college; thanks for sharing that! It greatly encourages me :)
      Blessings!

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