If I could give one piece of advice to all students in Christians schools, it would be this: be faithful in the little things.
This advice is certainly not original, and it is not glamorous, but this is what I have learned from great Bible characters that we all admire. I think Daniel is a wonderful example of showing faithfulness in the little things. Daniel went from being a prisoner of the king of Babylon, to the second most powerful man in the kingdom.
Daniel was a sharp and good-looking Jew that was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar when he conquered Jerusalem. Daniel did his best to remain faithful to God as a prisoner and servant in the palace. This came at great sacrifice to Daniel, as he had to say no to the king’s food to follow the kosher laws. Daniel prayed three times a day. He scheduled it into his busy life of helping run the greatest empire that had ever existed. His daily praying was not glamorous, but his faithfulness in little things every day formed Daniel into a fearless man who would be willing to defy the king rather than stop worshiping God.
Daniel’s three friends were made of similar stuff. While all were forced to bow down to a statue of the king, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood. Can you imagine the peer pressure they experienced at that moment as they stood out like sore thumbs, the soldiers walking towards them to haul them into an oven? I would have broken into a cold sweat.
Daniel and his friends were living in exile under a government that did not acknowledge God, but God used them and their faithfulness to convert the kingdom of Babylon into one where God was feared and worshipped. Nebuchadnezzar, the king who had his people worship him like a god, wrote:
“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
But what does this have to do with school?!
One of the most important goals that we teachers have is to help students form a virtuous character through habit. We are helping students become strong men and women who are faithful in the work that God has given them, and this is done through work we consider valuable. So, it is the habit-forming tasks like memorizing Latin vocabulary, or understanding formulas, or memorizing syllogisms that shape a student’s character.
Jesus said that “he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much (Luke 16:10).” God likes to entrust us with small challenges in preparation for the great challenges that are to come. These great challenges are not only roles such as parenting, jobs, leadership, etc., but also the challenges that we will have in the new heavens and the new earth.
“Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1 Cor 6:13). If our heavenly calling is to judge angels, should we not be preparing for it? As sons and daughters of God, do we perceive our education as a preparation for royalty that will eventually rule? Or do we see our education as just preparing us for a good job in this earth? Let us make sure we do not undersell ourselves in our heavenly calling.
Finally, consider David, who had no idea of the work that God was preparing him for when he was a shepherd. But when he was not fighting lions and bears, he was composing worship songs and watching over his flock. He did not know he was being prepared to rule a kingdom, but since he was faithful as a shepherd, he was prepared to be faithful as a king. So, student, be faithful in the little things, for this will prepare you to be faithful in the great ones.