We all remember that feeling when in school. No matter how good we wanted to do, there was a limit to how much work we wanted to put in. There were a lot of other distractions. There were friends to hang out with, there were ballgames to go to, and there was fun to be had. Besides all that, it wasn’t really much fun. Before the final exams, we would all calculate what grade we had to make on the final to get the grade we wanted in the class. That would help us determine how much we needed to study. The higher the grade we needed, the longer and harder we would study. If we were in good shape, then we would study a lot less. At the end of the day, we just wanted a certain grade.
I was no different. Well, at least that was true the first time I went to school. About 5 years after graduating with my bachelor’s degree and working in my chosen field, I decided I wanted to change my career path. That required me to go back to school, so I enrolled in classes online. This second time around, I was already married. I took my first class when my wife was pregnant with our first child. I was working about 50-55 hours per week, and I knew there were others relying on me.
I was at a very different place in my life the second time around. Not only were my physical circumstances different, but so was my mindset. I could care less what grades I got. Honestly, I didn’t even care if I got a grade. The only reason I wanted credit for a class was because it allowed me to go on to the next one. Instead of a specific grade, do you know what I was after? Knowledge. I took it much more seriously. I took all my classes online, but if I had been sitting in a classroom, I would have been the one on the front row taking notes as fast as possible. I wanted to have the knowledge and skills necessary to work and succeed in a new career.
The way I looked at school was very different. Instead of wanting to check a box, I wanted to learn. My two mindsets were worlds apart.
Unfortunately, when it comes to our Christian lives, many of us have the mindset of wanting to check a box. We are trying to figure out what the least is that we have to do in order to get the grade we want at the end, with that grade being heaven. Have we been to enough worship services? Have we visited enough people? Have we read enough? Have we prayed enough?
The problem is that our mindset is completely wrong. We are hoping to just pass the class instead of gaining the knowledge. If we have a desire to worship our Lord, then attendance at services will just come naturally. In fact, it would devastate us if we missed. Instead of figuring out if we’ve read enough of the Bible to satisfy II Timothy 2:15, we would long to gain a deeper understanding of God’s word. Instead of trying to visit our quota of sick, we would love our fellow Christians so much that we would hurt when they hurt and rejoice when they rejoice (Romans 12:15). Helping those who are struggling wouldn’t even be a question.
Why do you do what you do? Are you trying to just make the grade? Are you trying to just get to heaven? If you love God, His word, and your Christian family, then you will long to do what God wants. In that case, heaven will be the natural outcome.
What is your mindset?