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God's Back-to-School Special

by sandra snider  
8/17/2011 / Christian Living

Is it back to school time? Already?

Students live and move and have their being amidst papers, reports, projects, and presentations. Even though my formal schooling is over, in many ways I remain a student because I'm still regularly assigned papers, reports, projects, and presentations.

So when I find myself tending to grumble about having to pull together yet another report for yet another project, I take myself to Joshua 18:1-9. "Then Joshua asked them, 'How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given to you? Select three men from each tribe, and I will send them out to explore the land and map it out. They will then return to me with a written report of their proposed divisions of their new homeland'" The rest of that section indicates that the men did exactly as instructed and completed their academic task.

Joshua, Moses' successor, was telling them to go, study up, do some research, and then write up what they found and report back to him. Perhaps this is one of history's first recorded instances of homework. The men were given a detailed assignment and in the process of completing it they learned to submit and take instructions from authority, developed thinking and writing skills, and honed their ability to work as a team.

For their task the men explored geographical territory but the 'land' for me is often in the guise of a daunting dataset that I need to analyze, a complicated piece of subject matter I'm expected to understand, or a question from a co-worker that I need to answer. The end result of work processes is a detailed written report and a conference call presentation to a client.

God's invitation to embrace the discipline of doing assigned work well, whether in school or in the classroom of life, can be part of the process God uses for spiritual sanctification and growing his children in holiness. Understanding the purpose of my 'homework' from God's eternal perspective often helps me to take on new assignments with a positive attitude. If I choose, it can be a spiritual exercise in submission and obedience.

It definitely brings a smile to my face and even energizes me when I hear the words, "Write a report and get back to me!"

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