“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:11
I love analogies and object lessons. They help make concepts more accessible to me.
My friend Dan is really good at object lessons. He was my RA my freshman year at Liberty, and I always remember the lessons he taught our student leadership team.
One talk in particular has stuck with me and is one I continue to teach each year as an RA to the students on my hall. It went something like this:
One random Tuesday night during the semester, Dan told the leadership to come to our weekly meeting dressed up in suits. There was no explanation, but Dan is the kind of guy that when he tells you to do something, you do it – no questions asked. So there we were, about eight college students, dressed in jackets and ties. I like to think we looked like a group of secret agents.
Somehow, we ended up just off campus at a gas station.
“He probably just needs to fill up,” I reasoned, “Surely, this isn’t the destination for the night's retreat.”
Dan got out and we circled up in the bed of his white Chevy S-10. He looked at this crew of suit-clad life group leaders and started, “Have you ever felt overdressed for a situation?”
“I was driving to a wedding once, all dressed up like we are now, but I had to stop at a gas station to fill up my truck. I felt completely out of place. Everyone kept asking me where I was headed because it was clear I was on my way to someplace else. In other words, this gas station was not my final destination.
The same is true for us as college students and young adults. College is not your final destination – you’re all on your way to do bigger and better things. God has a plan for each of your lives, but he has you here in the place you’re in for a purpose. I knew the gas station wasn’t my final destination, but it was important for me to stop there for a time and a purpose.”
The Great One Day
That’s a great lesson and I have to remind myself of that truth often. I find myself getting caught up waiting for the next big thing God’s going to call me to do. It’s what my friend Brent Gambrell calls the living in the “Great One Day.” The problem with this type of thinking is that I miss out on why God has me here in the first place.
For many of us, we can take comfort that in ten years, life will look very different. You probably won’t be in the same place you’re in currently. But in God’s sovereign plan, he’s placed you here for a time and a purpose. It’s a shame that many students spend the best years of their life just looking ahead to what’s next. Some of us spend nine months a year, in a city that we’ve never invested our time and energy into. Even at Christian schools, we live in communities that need Jesus: a roommate, the barista at the coffee shop you study at, the homeless man downtown.
Don’t jump ahead of God, even when you feel overdressed, out of place, and headed to bigger things. God has a plan for your life, and in his perfect timing, he’s got you right where you’re supposed to be. When it’s time to move on, go and don’t look back. But until then, trust God and the purpose he has for you here today.
Remember the mission.