Have you done your homework?

Published 10:43 am Thursday, September 21, 2017

Have you done your homework? I remember my parents asking (multiple times) if I had done what I needed to do to be prepared for the next day. Some evenings I did better than others. Sometimes, however, I got distracted. I had stuff going on and limited time. Sometimes the amount to be done took longer than I expected. The number of pages to read might be high, or it was unfamiliar material. Sometimes it took more time to finish than normal.

Getting homework done was one measure of readiness for the next day. Over time, the habit would strengthen my grasp of what I had been taught. It would help align pieces together into a greater whole of understanding. The basic formula was that I would be able to apply something if I understood it, and that I would understand it if I spent time reading, reflecting and reviewing it.

As a Christian, the same equation holds true. I may have seen or heard something about my faith along the way, but “doing my homework” is still necessary if I am to fully grasp it and be ready to apply it in my life. There are daily “homework” assignments, which strengthen and shape my relationship with the Teacher and the way that I am being taught. Can I expect to be prepared for what I face tomorrow if I leave my homework undone? How much more ready will I be if I have spent time doing my nightly reading, taking notes, committing pieces to memory, studying how various parts relate and increasing in knowledge and wisdom?

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There are days — and even weeks — when I feel less prepared to live as a Christian. I may not get a formal grade on how I am doing, but I have not measured up to what I could have done or the ways I could have been more like Christ in the way I live. Fortunately, with God, each day is an opportunity for a fresh start.

Jesus welcomed anyone who wanted to follow his way but required that we learn to show it daily in the ways we love others. How do I treat family, friends, strangers I meet, enemies that enraged me or those I wish would be silent forever? Am I prepared to love them all as Jesus loves me? I think I still have some homework to do.

Rev. Michael Kendall is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist church. His email address is mkendall@farmvilleumc.org.