Flunking Life

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If you strain to listen, you just might hear it. Hear what? Can you hear the sighs, moans, and groans of those who are despairing that it is “back to school” time? This sad cacophony is heard among some students, teachers, and administrators. Notice, I used the word ‘some.’ I do know some who are excited, hopeful, and joyful as they commence on another year of study or teaching, but these may be in the minority. This time of year brought me a mixture of positive and negative emotions, and I suppose many of you are or were like me in this regard.

If you will indulge me, I would like to share a quote with you from Walker Percy who, in his 1980 volume The Second Coming (the book has nothing to do with the return of Jesus Christ in case you were curious), wrote the following line: “You can get all A’s and still flunk life.” I like this quote and would like to explore it with you briefly.

Did you ever make the honor roll? Did you have a report card with an ‘A’ for every class taken? On a few occasions, I worked with sufficient effort to attain grades granting this distinction. I remember our local Dairy Queen restaurant tried to entice children to make good grades by promising an ice cream treat for those who excelled in the classroom. On graduation night, the valedictorian, salutatorian, and other “honor students” were given special recognition. Making good grades, as we typically describe it, brought financial benefit in the form of scholarships after high school and other good opportunities if they were continued in college or university classes.

However, I think the quote from Mr. Percy is exactly right. I have known those who bested others in the classroom but failed miserably in life. Why? There are a host of reasons. Poor choices in friendships, activities, and behaviors lead to the downfall of many. Some later recover and regain their footing in life, but sadly some never do.

Ultimately, for the purpose of this article, I want us to consider what “flunking life” looks like. In order to determine this, we have to ask: “What is the purpose or meaning of life?” Such a question is far too momentous to answer in a few sentences. But the wisest man who ever lived, because he was granted his superior wisdom supernaturally from God, gives this succinct definition: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” These words are from the pen of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Therefore, anything a person might do other than fear God and keep His commandments is “flunking life.” I know that sounds harsh, unfair, and judgmental, but I believe it to be the absolute truth!

Some might object: “I’m a doctor and help save lives” or “I’m a business man and a multi-millionaire” or “I’m a public servant who helps others and keeps our community safe.” All of these and countless other endeavors and pursuits in life are commendable, but if they are engaged in or conducted without doing as Solomon enjoined, they will prove to be of no eternal importance. Respecting God and obeying His Word is the only thing that will make one an eternal success.

Do not misunderstand me, I encourage you to do your best in your schoolwork. (I hope the Judd boys are hearing their dad!) Do your best work as an employee or business owner or in whatever role you serve or occupy in the world. But, never forget to give attention and devotion to doing what your Creator has ordained for you to do in the Bible.

Want to avoid “flunking life?” Obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ today and let Him forgive you of your sins. This will put you on a journey to eternal success? What grade would God give you today? Don’t flunk life!