Being a student at Clemson University I have had many choices to make. What to have for breakfast, to do homework or to watch youtube videos with a hall-mate, to get up 20 minutes early to actually get ready for class or to roll out of bed in your athletic sleeping apparel and throw on tennis shoes. Yet the bigger choices are harder to make. Who will I choice to spend time with?
I was blessed with a wise man that raised me for 16 full years. The advice that my dad left me with that is most applicable to my career at Clemson is this:
“You are most likely defined by who you associate with, what you listen to, and what you read.”
It takes an educated person to agree but a sound and forward person to actually apply. I’ve had the opportunities to associate with classmates, sorority sisters, my family in Christ. All of which have been awesome encounters in one shape or form. But which will impact my relationship with Jesus most? Easy answer for most people: my family in Christ. Proverbs 27:17 encourages this thought: “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another”. I am so grateful to have like-minded people that are willing to encourage me and support me on campus. I know that I always have someone to talk to about an issue or a class, someone to walk to the gym with, a mass of people to eat meals with, etc. Community is in our life for a reason. But, why?
The not so easy answer: because we have been called to ministry. Because ministry won’t only effect myrelationship with Jesus but it will start other’s relationship with The Savior as well. In all of the choices offered to us everyday we have options to chose between the conversations to begin a relational ministry or the comfortable alternative. You see, we were called to “go! And make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). So why would we chose to wait until someone asks us what is different about our life?
At Clemson University we have a traditional bell tower and auditorium that marks the center of campus: Tillman Hall. It became a bucket list priority to climb to the top of Tillman (through a process of climbing stairs and picking locks) to ring the bells in an odd rhythm and tone and an odd time of night (or morning). One night, my dream came true. My friends and I did exactly what I had always imagined. We went inside Tillman, went through a series of hallway turns, ended up at a staircase, climbed seven flights of stairs, until we got to the room with the clock. Incredible. It then turned into a series of small steps widely separated. This all reminded me of one of my favorite Nicholas Cage movies: “National Treasure”. When we finally got to the bells, we took our fair share of pictures, rang the bells and fled the scene. Later that week I had a numerous amount of friends asking me how I got to the top, how did I complete a Clemson tradition so easily? What was my secret?
This is the greatest opportunity that we will ever be given. If we know the way to an eternity with Jesus through grace, and we love our lost friends so much, why do we stick in our comfortable bubble instead of making sure that they can live the life we get to live forever? “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed?” (Mark 4:21). No, that would defeat the purpose of the light being in a dark place. Easy metaphor. Of course, I’m going to share with my friends how I got to the top of Tillman. Because it was an unforgettable memory that I want them to live and experience as well.
Take the opportunity this next week to seek encounters with others whether it is to sit in an unfamiliar spot with unfamiliar people instead of your usually place. Start a conversation with that person walking in front of you to your class across campus that you see everyday so that one day they may ask you the secret to your happiness and joy in life and you get to share with them the “key to the Kingdom:” the Gospel of God.