You are probably wondering why I have a ladder up here.
This ladder represents achievement. At the top of the ladder is your goal. It is where you want to get to.
If your goal is to get to the top of this ladder, how would you do it? Would they have to go step by step or could they just jump up to the top?
There really is only one way up. You have to step up on one rung at a time. If you want to achieve what God has called you to do, it is the step by step, day by day, doing your work as unto the Lord. It is not just one big paper to turn in or just studying for one big test and poof, you’ve made it. It is the every day, doing your homework, being mindful of checking your work, turning in your assignments on time, reading along in your book (two-finger tracking), even when it’s not your turn, being obedient to the teacher, even when you do not want to. It is a Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 3:30, every day, every class, do my work as unto the Lord attitude that lets you take the next step, then the next step, then the next step, and soon you have reached your goal. As there is one way to get up, is there more than one way down? Yes!
There are really two ways to come down from the top of a ladder. One is to jump down or just let go and splat and the other is to come down by its steps. Little by little. But both will lead you to the bottom.
It is much harder to work your way up the ladder to reach your goals than it is to come down. It takes diligence and perseverance to climb. The danger of third quarter is to not work as hard at school. To think you’ve done well on spelling, I don’t need to study as much. I don’t need to double-check my math homework. I’m good at math. I’m fine without Latin note cards. Each of these excuses is one step down. And another and another. Step by step you give yourself excuses to not do your best as unto the Lord. Some of you will be tempted to just jump right off. Basketball starts. Baseball and softball season is coming. I’ve got my new game system. I can’t wait to play on my new device. And homework doesn’t get done. You don’t study. And in one glorious leap, splat, you land on the ground. On the bottom. The funny thing is, whether you slowly drift down or if you just take the plunge, you both will end up in the same place. A place you do not want to be.
When we think about being in the garden of Eden and being in that perfect place. What was it like? We might think Adam and Eve slept in, ordered carryout every meal and binged on Netflix and Disney +. It would be like the eternal Christmas break. Is that the way it was in Eden? What does the Bible say? We get a pretty good idea in Genesis 2:15, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work and keep it”. Genesis 2 is before the fall of man in Genesis 3. This is God talking to Adam and Eve, specifically Adam. And He is telling Adam, you have a job to do. It is two things. Work and keep the garden. In a word, get to work. Sickness, disease, death, poverty, brokenness are all parts of the fall of man in sin. Work is not. Work came from God to Adam when they were perfect. What’s my point? God created you and me to work. Where did Adam and Eve work? In a garden. Like a good gardener, they had to work to make things grow and keep the garden healthy. Protect it and care for it. Cultivate it.
Your charge this third quarter is to be like a good gardener. Work and keep your garden. Cultivate it. Care for it. Nurture it. Grow it. So where is your garden? Unfortunately, the garden of Eden is not available and even if you did find it, trust me, you don’t want to mess around with those angels. Your garden is here at school. What is the work that you are being called to? Being a student. Being a learner.
Climb the next step of that ladder by doing the work you are called to do. Step by step you do the work. Day by day. Work is not something to look down on because it is the way God created you and me. He created us to do hard things. He made us to be gardeners, to be workers. When we are lazy and irresponsible and take shortcuts and find the easy way out and make excuses, we go against the way God created us to be. So, your charge for this quarter is to put on the gloves, grab your shovels and rakes, and get to work. When you are doing your work as unto the Lord, you are becoming more like Jesus and doing exactly what you were created to do.