What Will You Do With Jesus?

“Write two pages about what you did last summer.”

It was the worst assignment of the year. We fretted about it from the day school dismissed in June. Some wrote sample essays, memorized them and then wrote them out when Miss Townsend gave The Assignment on that terrible first Monday of the new school year.

The year I was to graduate from high school, Pastor Jake, the Bible teacher, took Miss Townsend’s assignment and threw us a real curveball.

“Your last assignment for this year,” Pastor Jake intoned, “is your first assignment in After High School life. Use as much paper as you would like to answer this simple question: What are you going to do with Jesus this summer? You have 15 minutes.”

I couldn’t think of anything to write. So, I sat and thought.

I could promise to read my Bible every day, to pray more, to gripe less, to be kinder and forgive more easily. But those were the expected answers, the easy ones that would take five minutes to write and five seconds to break.

The Bible room was hot, and most of my classmates were using up ink as if the Perfect Answer demanded a 10-page essay.

My paper was blank, my pencil unused.

I knew what I was going to do over the summer. Our family was going on a trip to Canada, I would be working at the hospital, I had three lawn contracts, and I already had a roommate for college. But, what about the “with Jesus” part of the question?

Twelve minutes passed. Then 14. Jake was looking at his watch. I was doomed.

In desperation I reached for my pencil.

Then the timer buzzed.

“OK, everybody,” Pastor Jake said, “take your paper, fold it carefully and keep it easily available. Every Monday morning, before you do anything else, take out the paper, unfold it and read it aloud to yourself. Then, kneel beside your bed and talk with Jesus about how it’s going.”

There were groans, mostly over work seemingly wasted, and then Pastor Jake spoke again.

“It would probably be easier if you just did whatever you wanted to this summer and every summer to follow.

“However, the challenge is for you to let Jesus write your story with you. That will be more difficult, filled with stops and starts, salted with really bad days, some ugly bullying, broken hearts, tears, and temptations far larger than you could hope to handle if you’re living solitare.

“Travel alone, and the devil doesn’t bother you very much. He’s already got you on his side.

“However, if you’re singing a life-duet with Jesus, the devil has to work hard to get you off-key and will do his best to make your life hell.

“But that’s OK. Jesus is your full-on partner. And He has already overcome the devil.”

I looked down at my empty paper, reached for my pen and wrote: “Jesus, may I please follow your lead on this?”

April 27, 2018 / Just Like Jesus