Pay Now, Play Later
Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do right, will you not be accepted? — Genesis 4:4
Cain was jealous of his brother. He did not like the obvious display of God’s blessings on Abel’s life. Cain made the mistake of doing what so many are doing today. He gave minimum effort, but expected maximum reward. He wanted the same blessing as his brother, but with no repentance, no effort, no consecration, and this sorry “give me something for doing nothing” attitude. Sound familiar? Have you ever met a Cain?
I am seeing this in today’s middle and high schools more and more as the years go by. Students want no part of studying. Many of them refuse to read, refuse to do any amount of homework, and a lot of them refuse to give the teacher any amount of their attention. I have been straight up asked by a student to just give them the answer to a test problem. God forbid they have to actually do something. Cheating is going on at epidemic levels. According to the Educational Testing Service, in the 1920’s 20% of students admitted to cheating. Today, between 75% and 98% of college students who were surveyed admitted to cheating in high school.
Perhaps the worst part of this is how the honest, hard working “Abel” students get treated. They are called “nerds,” or simply labeled in a group of somehow naturally gifted “smart people.” I have never heard an inferior student say that it was the effort of straight A student that gets them where they are. It is always “they are just smart,” or “I’m just dumb.” Both of these excuses simply exempt the slacker student from making an effort. Just like Cain, many would rather keep their laziness and tear others down rather than roll up their sleeves and get to work.
The high school years are about building a work ethic. If you have a solid work ethic, you are going to be successful in life. If you try to cut corners and take the easy way out, you will eventually become jealous and angry at the Abels who do it right. I’m just like everyone else, I love to play. I feel very fortunate that I realized at a fairly young age that there is a time to pay, and there is a time to play. In life, you will either pay, then play, or you will play, then pay. You can pay now, which in turn will allow you to play later. Or, you can spend these years playing, in which you will find yourself paying for it later. I have never heard an adult say they wish they had not tried so hard in high school. They all say if they could go back, they would pay attention and do it right.
A student generally goes to school from 8 until 3. That is 7 hours of school. Let’s factor in 10 hours a week for doing homework (I could count on one hand the number of students who have put that kind of effort in their school work). In a full week of school that is a total of 45 hours out of a possible 168 hours in a week. This amounts to 26.7% of the time you have for the week. If you do the arithmetic for a calendar year: 180 days x 9 hours = 1,620 hours. Divide that by the total number of hours in a year (365 days x 24 hours = 8,760 hours), you get 18.5%. You spend less than 20% of your entire year in school and that is if you work 10 hours a week outside of school and if you have perfect attendance. The bottom line is this: A person does not spend that much time in school. Put in the maximum effort while you are there and use the time to develop a work ethic and learn as much as possible. Pay now, play later.
I say all that to say this: Whether it be at school or at work, if you say you are a Christian, people are watching you. You do not get to cheat or take the easy way out. If you are a student, check out this verse:
Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for other believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. — 1 Timothy 4:12
Do not give them a reason to look down! If people talk about me in a negative way, I want it to be because they are simply jealous that God’s blessings are all over me. Today, you will either be a Cain who gives God something, or an Abel who gives God your best.
Let’s get to work!