Most parents have an innate desire for their children to do well in school. Sure, parents want to see their children succeed in life, and getting good grades school can be an indicator of future successes. But is there another reason, a deeper reason, for this desire to see your kid give their best effort to their schoolwork? Perhaps it’s because school is a child’s work, and parents want to see their kids be good workers, not just because of what it means for their future, but what it means for their souls now.
So often we forget this simple truth: God is a working God who created us to work. And the “us” means all of us, our grade school, middle school, and high school kids included. Our children ought to strive to well in school, not with the ultimate goal of getting good grades or developing good habits, but as a means of worshiping God.
Our children ought to strive to do well in school as a means of worshiping God. @anna_sargeant
When it comes to a proper theology of schoolwork, here are several things to keep in mind:
1. God works. He worked to create everything we see and don’t see. He is still working today (Genesis 2:3, Colossians 1:16-17).
2. God made us to work. God could have decided to do all the work in the universe Himself, but He gives us some work to do instead. If you think about it, that means God thinks pretty highly of us!
3. In working, we reflect God’s image. Because work reflects God’s nature, all work inherently has dignity (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:15). This even includes boring Algebra assignments.
Because work reflects God’s nature, all work has dignity, including Algebra assignments. @anna_sargeant
4. We were given work to do before the Fall (Genesis 1:19-20). After the Fall, work itself wasn’t cursed, our relationship to work was cursed (Genesis 3:16-18). This means work itself is not a bad thing.
5. After the Fall, our relationship with God was broken, our relationship with other humans was broken, and our relationship with the earth was broken. Because of these broken relationships, work has been hard and painful ever since the Fall. If you think work is supposed to be easy, you are wrong (Genesis 3:8-18).
6. Even though work is hard, God is still redeeming all things, including our work (Colossians 1:19-20)! This means work doesn’t have to defeat us.
7. For kiddos, their work at school consists mostly of learning, studying, testing, etc. This schoolwork is actually an assignment from the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:17). In their schoolwork, your child can worship God in a multitude of ways. In studying hard and completing assignments, kids can reflect God’s self-control (Galatians 5:23), His creativity (Psalm 19:1), His long-suffering (Numbers 14:18), and His sense of order (1 Corinthians 14:33).
In schoolwork, kids can reflect God’s self-control, creativity, long-suffering, and sense of order. @anna_sargeant
8. Jesus came to do the work we ourselves could never do: He earned our way back to God for us by dying on the cross and rising again to reign forever. We are saved by faith in Jesus, which is a gift from God, something we cannot earn. We were saved to be God’s workmanship, that is, to do good works on this earth (Ephesians 2:8-10). This means as Christians, we work out of an overflow of God’s Spirit at work within us. Everything we do – even schoolwork – we do as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
Everything we do – even schoolwork – we do as unto the Lord. @anna_sargeant
As the school year begins I hope all of us – kids and adults alike – remember why we work. It is not to earn our salvation, security, or success. We work because God works. By working well wherever He has placed us, we can reflect His glorious image and worship Him.
Author’s note: Much of this content is adapted from a workshop put on by The Austin Stone’s Work | Faith | Mission Network. See their LinkedIn group here to learn more about them and get more content on how work, faith, and mission intersect.