There’s no denying it. Summer is winding down. Textbooks and school supplies are in your near future. It’s time to head back to school. (Some of you already have!)
God doesn’t so much care about where you’ll spend your school year but what you will do with the year ahead.
Maybe you love school and are excited about the return to regular routine. Maybe you hate it and are dreading the school year ahead. Either way, I think God has a mission for your school year. It doesn’t matter if you’re in middle school or college; home-schooled, private-schooled, or public-schooled, God doesn’t so much care about where you’ll spend your school year but what you will do with the year ahead.
In fact, no matter how or where you go to school, I believe these words sum up God’s plan for your school year:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19–20).
This passage is often called the Great Commission. When Jesus spoke these words, He was giving us a very specific assignment. As Christians, Jesus trusts us with the message of His gospel. He wants us to tell others what He has done for us (and them!).
What if instead of looking at the year ahead with classes and clubs in mind, you made the Great Commission your focus? How would it change things if you decided to share the gospel with your school?
Waking the Dead
As I was thinking about encouraging you to share the gospel this year, I kept thinking about the story of Lazarus. If you don’t know it, you can read the whole story in John 11:1–44. But let me give you the short version.
- Jesus’ friend Lazarus died. (You may have heard of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha.)
- Lazarus had been dead three days by the time Jesus got to his tomb.
- But that didn’t stop Jesus! He commanded Lazarus to rise from the dead, and Lazarus walked out of his tomb, alive and well.
Most of you know a Lazarus—someone who is dead in their sins, living their lives in darkness, separated from God. Maybe they’ve lived that way their whole lives, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope that they will ever choose the eternal life Christ offers.
But if Jesus can bring a dead man back to life, don’t you think He can rescue your friends and classmates who are dead in their sins?
Some of you will spend your school year feeling like you’re the one inside a tomb. Your school is a dark place. Most people don’t seem to care about Jesus. They’ve gotten so used to the smell of death, it doesn’t even seem to bother them anymore.
If that’s your school, be encouraged that God works even in the darkest places. And He is asking you shine like a bright light!
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14–16).
No matter how dark your school is, God wants to shine His light through you. You remember the song? "Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine."
The Lazarus Project
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I hear other people talk about sharing the gospel, it can be a little hard to grasp. Sure, I want to tell others about Jesus. I definitely want to see my friends become disciples who live their lives for Him. But how am I supposed to do that exactly? I want a game plan!
I’d like to suggest a very specific plan. I’m calling it the Lazarus project.
Would you consider purchasing three new Bibles? If you’re short on cash, consider picking up some babysitting jobs or selling some of your stuff to raise some cash. Then, take those Bibles to school with you this year. You can stick them in your locker or keep them with you in your bag. But don’t miss the most important step!
Ask the Lord to show you who needs those Bibles. Pray for specific opportunities to share the gospel, and give a Bible to three people in your school.
God does the hard work! He is the One who calls us from death to life, but wouldn’t it be awesome to be standing beside the tomb when someone from your school turned their life over to Jesus and moved from death to life?
God is able to rescue your classmates from their sin. He is able to raise your school from the dead. He has commissioned you to be a part of His rescue mission for the people you will be rubbing shoulders with for the next nine months. Will you accept the challenge?
If you’re willing to share the gospel and a Bible with at least three people in the school year ahead, leave me a comment below. I’d love to pray for you and cheer you on as you take the gospel to your school this year.
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