Q & A

“I love to spend as much time as possible witnessing for Christ. Whenever I study I feel it is a waste of time and I don’t want to do it. Is this right?”
If you really feel that study is a waste of time, isn’t it better for you to leave college? But if it is by God’s will that you are in college, then for you study is God’s will. And it is just as much God’s will as witnessing is.

But we can say even more than that. Actually, for a Christian student, study is witnessing.

Think for a little while about this. What does it mean to you to witness? Do you mean to give a tract to someone, or to talk to that person about Christ? Well, that is witnessing of course. But that’s not the only way to witness. And it may not be the most important way to witness. Is witnessing primarily what you do or what you are?

Remember what Jesus said, “Ye shall BE witnesses unto me.” So before you do witnessing you are to be a witness. You show a witness by the way you live: by the way you talk, the way you act, the way you behave, the way you play, the way you work. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might!” So if you’re a student you are a witness by the way you study. If you could do well in your studies, but by not studying you do poorly, then you are a poor witness for Christ.

So, faithful study is a witness now. But it also prepares for witness later. What you learn as you study will help to prepare you for your life work. If you’re going to be a doctor, then as a Christian you ought to be the best doctor that you are capable of being. The quality of your medical work will be part of your witness for Christ. Study now will prepare you for that. Conscientious, thorough study, especially when you don’t like it, also helps you to be a disciplined person. It teaches you faithfulness: doing something that you know you ought to do even when you don’t want to do it. That kind of faithfulness is rare, but it is necessary.

It was Jesus who went down to Nazareth and was subject to his parents from the age of 12 until the age of 30. That means He was subject to His father in the carpenter shop. This was just after He had said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” But make no mistake, when He was in Nazareth at that age the carpenter’s work was His Father’s business for Him. Perhaps he too would rather have been out “witnessing.”
So if you know God wants you to be a college student, then you know that God wants you to study and study well.

But I know that it is a problem to know how much time to spend. You don’t have enough time to study all you could and in addition to go out witnessing openly for Christ. You have to choose which you will do. And if you do both, then you must decide how much time to give to each.
One thing is clear. Don’t choose to witness because you are lazy and don’t want to study.

That would be poor witnessing. It would also be hypocrisy. Of course another thing is clear also. Don’t choose to study because you are a coward and don’t want to witness. That may not be your problem, but it is a problem for many students. That also is hypocrisy.
How then can you choose? Certainly you must give enough time -study so that you can do your best work. Then you must give time to open witnessing too. You may find that the witnessing time may come by cutting out some other unnecessary activities. As you prayerfully wait upon God with a heart open to Him He will guide you.

And remember, you will have much time during the holidays if you really want to witness. Plan to use it for the Lord.

Reprinted from Evangelical Student January 1965

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