What is your biggest fear?
Maybe it’s the looming 5-minute presentation in your communications class, or a phobia of snakes or spiders or other things that creep and crawl. My guess is that it’s something more. Deep down, it probably has something to do with the bigger questions of life, like what happens after we die. From my experiences as a college student and working with them, the number one concern of this generation is an all-consuming fear of wasting their life. From the biggest decisions (“What do I want to do after I graduate?”) to the smallest decisions (“What do I want to do this weekend?”), every moment of our life is driven by this fear of not wanting to waste our life.
Your passion to not waste your life is met with God’s passion to give your life purpose and meaning. But what is our purpose in life? How do we know if we’re wasting it? The best way to not waste your life is to live and live for the things that matter eternally: relationships
Relationship with God
The Lord tells Jeremiah in Jeremiah 9:23-24, “let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me.” What were you made for? What is the most important thing in life? To know God. Not just know about God with baseball card facts that you learned growing up in Sunday school, but to really know the God of the Bible. To know that he isn’t some lofty idea or distant deity, but He is a person in Jesus Christ. That He loves you. He really loves you. No life is greater than a life spent getting after the Lord and realizing all He has done for you in Jesus Christ.
Relationship with Self
Outside of your relationship with God, there is nothing more important than your relationship with yourself. Who we are, or rather who we see ourselves as, will fuel everything we do on a daily basis. Paul Tripp claims “there is no one more influential in your life than you, because no one talks to you more than you.” You are constantly in an ongoing conversation with yourself day after day. Your conversations create your life. What are you saying to yourself? Is your self-worth determined by your current circumstances, past pains, or God’s word? We don’t have to be uncertain about who we truly are, because God’s word is clear about us: “(1) We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves that we ever dared believe, & (2) yet at the same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ that we ever dared hope” (Gospel quote from Pastor Tim Keller).
Relationship with Others
Jesus tells the religious teachers in Matthew 22:37-39 that the greatest commandment is to love God with everything and that, in turn, should lead to a life of loving others. After you graduate, you will forget about the grades you made, the jobs or positions you held, the awkward or embarrassing situations you found yourself in, but you will never forget about the people. How do you love these people? The unlimited resources of Jesus fills your deepest needs in the first two relationships, which propels you into this one. Because Jesus loves you, you are able to love. Because Jesus forgives you, you are able to forgive others. And on and on. Life is not about obtaining great success, possessions, comfort, or many of the other things we concern ourselves with most of the time. It’s about people.
My mentor in college once told me that there are only two things that last for eternity, and are therefore the only two things in life that really matter: God and people. That statement changed the trajectory of my time at college and, truly, my life. So whatever you do, whether it be going to class at 8:00 am next Monday morning, heading to the gym to work out, or working a part-time job after class, make it your purpose to invest in these relationships that will last long after the things of this world pass away. I pray that, at the end of your college years, your career, even your life, that none of you would say, “I’ve wasted it.