Planning With God

A few days ago I wrote a letter to the parents of next year's senior class and to the seniors themselves. I think it says something important that I want people to read, something that I believe personally, something we stand for as a school. I think that we, as parents and concerned adults who may have grown up without the benefits of certain experiences and material things, perhaps believe that our young people should not have to go without those things we did, and give them too much stuff and try to push them to do things we may not have done in order to spare them some of the hardships we faced growing up. We want the best for them. We want them to have it better than we did.

But did we really have it all that bad? Didn't hardship and struggle form Christ in us and make us the believers we are today? Is life really about having a house and a car and other materials things and security? Is that what the Gospel is all about? Did Jesus say that if we were his disciples our lives would be beds of roses and mansions on Easy Street? Nope. Not even close. He promised us that we would face the same hardships he faced, but that we would have Him to see us through it all. He is our inheritance and He is who we want to hand down to our children, for without Him, life is meaningless and empty.

Having said all that, here is the letter I wrote:

May 13, 2011
Dear Senior Parent and Child,
Bear with me.

One of my favorite books I read as a child was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, the story of a boy named Milo who travels to the Land of Wisdom and has all sorts of adventures in the kingdoms of Dictionopolis, where everything has to do with words, and Digitopolis, where everything has to do with numbers. One of the memorable characters in the book is Officer Shrift who is very short and finds joy in arresting people. I do not think I understood the significance of Officer Shrift's height at the time, but now I am aware of the phrase "short shrift" which means "little attention or consideration in dealing with a person or a matter." I know that I gave something short shrift when we met together last night for our "future seniors and their parents meeting."

Last night in our discussion of the future plans of our seniors, I gave short shrift to seeking the call of God upon one's life. I spoke as though everyone planned to go to a secular college when that may not be the call of God for every senior's life. I apologize, for I am deeply convicted about having spoken presumptuously. God may have already spoken to some of our seniors about attending Bible college or taking some time off from schooling to go serve on a mission field or to simply go get a job. Not everyone must go to college, or if they do, not everyone has to go to a secular college; the important thing is to hear from God about what his plan and his will are for your life.

I went to Bible college straight from high school and graduated. My final year of Bible college I also attend a community college, because I felt God calling me to become either an accountant or a teacher. Three days before beginning my college studies the fall following my graduation from Bible college, I felt God's call to take a semester-long short-term missions trip to Europe and the Middle East. It was my first trip outside the United States and it changed my perspective. The state college was still there waiting for me when I returned, and I enrolled in the spring.

When it came time to declare a major, I remember sitting down with my father in his office and asking him what I should choose - accounting or teaching - and his counsel was to ask God for that answer and to know that he and my mother would back me up 100 percent. It was godly counsel because it directed me to seek God's plan and will for my life, not what would please my parents, not what would bring me the most money, material possessions, and security, not even what would make me happy.

When I considered the choices my parents had made - to walk away from their secure, suburban lives in Maine and move our family to another state so my father could go to Bible college - and when I thought about all they had given up to follow Christ, I realized how vital it is to be like Abraham in Genesis 13 who allowed God to choose for him and received so much more than what he would have gotten if he had chosen for himself. God spoke to me about becoming a teacher, and I pursued that course of study with the express purpose of teaching in our Christian school for as long as He would have me there. I am still here, I am happy, and I don't think I lack for anything, even though I know that people with my education and experience make much more money elsewhere.

Let God choose for you. He's not crazy and twisted, so He's not going to ask you to become somebody or do something you cannot do or would hate doing. Maybe he has already spoken to you about something, like becoming a pastor or a missionary. These are not career paths to material riches, but if you follow Christ into full-time Christian service, you will have a rich life. If God is calling you to study business or engineering or a career in healthcare, then go after that with all you have to the glory of God. Don't choose your future plans to please others or yourself - please God. You are a Christian, a believer, and Jesus has commanded us Christians to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness knowing that God will add "all these things" unto us; God will supply everything we need.

I hope that I have redeemed myself, giving this viewpoint the consideration it deserved last night when we were all gathered together. Pray about God's plan and will for your life. He will answer, guide, and lead in His time.

Respectfully yours,

Daniel Dunbar, Principal


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