Lukewarm isn't warm enough
I have the blessing of serving as an intern in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at the College of William and Mary. I find my work incredibly rich and fulfilling so it’s surprising to think that before I started I wasn’t looking to do ministry. In fact, it was quite the opposite! I wasn’t expecting to do work like this at all! A year ago, I was set on an exciting track to get a degree in Museum Studies and become a curator. Museums were a lifetime interest of mine and going down that path seemed like the right thing to do. God, in His ultimate wisdom, had another, far greater plan for my life than I could have ever chosen for myself. A single path opened for me before my graduation and this internship was it! You could say I literally “fell” into ministry and that would be true to the point. I haven’t lost my passion for history and museums - not by far! However, the Lord has called me to an understanding that I have a greater passion for Him than I do anything else. He is my redeemer, my greatest joy and my deepest love.
Fast forward to today and you’ll see me bustling around our ministry center, hanging out with students, and just generally thriving in my environment. I love my job, but I won’t pretend that it isn’t difficult. Ministry has its challenges and college ministry is no exception. Like people from any walk of life, many college students are just simply running from God. I’m convinced that many of them perhaps don’t even realize that they are running away from God. They are so caught up in the worries of this world that God’s word doesn’t take root (Mt. 13:22). Certainly, many of us have been there. “I’m just too busy to pray today” or “I’ll read my Bible tomorrow” probably sound familiar to everyone reading this article. Whether it’s actively opposing God or just avoiding Him, we use excuses to justify our actions.
Every week, I have the pleasure of sitting down, one-on-one, with students and talking with them about their classes, their clubs, and their lives. I ask only a few questions, offer little critique, but instead choose to listen. It is there that I learn the most about what is going on under the surface. For every decision people make, they have an underlying reasoning for it. It’s typically just below the surface, but it’s always there. Many of our college students (at least where I currently serve) are simply riding out their college religious experience. Some students do oppose the idea of God, but quite a few of them are either ambivalent, or indifferent. They may not oppose God, but some sort of covert (or perhaps overt) reasoning leads them to avoid figuring out more. The reasons change from person to person and even from season to season, but certainly, they are there.
The one that I hear most often is, “I’m just not a spiritual person.” What does that truly mean? Not a spiritual person? Did God conveniently “leave out” the Spirit inside of you that allows for communion with Him? Actually, if you listen closely, some students might say yes. I believe this reflects a confusion between the world’s view of spirituality and the Christian concept that our faith is a living relationship. Our personalities do not hinder anyone from having a passion for God. God created our diversity of disposition in fact to allow us to seek Him better. We are the body of Christ: all different giftings (and yes, personalities!) working together to edify each other and bring our fellowship closer to God (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 14:26).
The only thing that can truly keep someone from a spiritual nature is a desire not to have it. Our desire for the divine is perhaps well described by a stove-top. The pan is on the stove and it’s filled with water. Now what are you going to do with it? Boil it, or let it sit: the choice is up to you.
When you talk to young people or anyone confused about spirituality, grab their attention long enough to tell them that they have control. Nothing has relegated them to a life of lukewarm spirituality. Christ is waiting with eager anticipation. He is waiting to shower His love on them. They control the temperature- and they should turn it to piping hot.
Kairos Initiative Intern at The College of William and Mary