(This is the first in a series articles about the first big tests that high school graduates face. We’ve been studying them in our senior Sunday school class and I hope these ideas will be helpful to you or those you influence.)
Have you ever seen a train wreck? There’s not a much more vivid metaphor than the unbridled collision of several tons of moving metal resulting in twisted steel, broken glass and an industrial disaster of gargantuan proportions. Too often we see high school graduates celebrate their graduation night and start down the tracks of adulthood only to wreck their lives just a few miles from the train station!
This is the time of year we see our graduates “commence”—begin their adult lives, their post-high school years; so I thought it would be appropriate to consider the top three challenges facing every graduate. It could be stated that these are the first big and immediate tests that confront a young adult immediately after high school. If they pass these tests, they avoid the bad decisions that can lead to a spiritual train wreck. Perhaps these thoughts will be helpful to you as you prepare graduates for adulthood!
1. The Challenge of a Job—Exodus 20:9-10 says, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God.” God created us to work and expects us to lead productive lives. (Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”) And every young adult is excited about having that first job! Mine was making Big Macs at McDonalds. What a joy. And yet, so many young people allow their job to become their first spiritual downfall—often within a few weeks of high school graduation. How?
They Work at the Wrong Place—even in a tough economy, starter jobs are pretty easy to find—especially for hard working, honest, and clean-cut young people. It’s amazing how many Christians will take jobs at places that a Christian has no business working. No amount of money is worth corrupting your heart and mind, so teach young adults to be selective about work environments. It is possible to work in the world without “eating the king’s meat.” For every Christian, there ought to be some places we just wouldn’t work, no matter what.
They Work at the Wrong Time—the first test of a new job is Sunday work. How is it that we can toss God and His church aside for $7.50 an hour? One of the greatest reasons young people fall away from God after high school is that they stop attending church because of work! But for those who honor God’s commands and protect Sunday, God always provides for their needs in a better way. I’ve watched it hundreds of times over the years—God always takes care of those who protect His day and who stay deliberately and faithfully involved in their local church.
They Work for the Wrong Purpose—some young people view their new job as nothing more than a way to meet new friends and buy clothes or iPods, while others see it as a temporary means to a more important end and a way to be a witness for Christ. Those with a higher purpose—pursuing the will of God—always keep their job in check and view it as an opportunity to facilitate God’s will in other areas.
Stay tuned for more big challenges. And until then, share your comments or additional thoughts, and be sure to consider who you can challenge with these thoughts.