How You Live Your Life Matters
You matter. And how you live your life matters. When I was 13, I attended a Christian Conference for college students in Kansas called KC ’83. I went because, as the youngest child in the family, I was dragged along with my parents and three older sisters. I heard some very impactful speakers who challenged me in my faith. One of the speakers was Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now, “Power to Change” in Canada). He challenged a stadium filled with 20,000 college students not to simply ask God for help to get through university, but to use them while there, even if it meant staying an extra year. My thirteen-year-old mind was inspired by the thought that, perhaps, God might use me in high school. At the end of grade 9, I chose to leave the Christian school I attended, and return to the local public high school. Some friends and I started a Christian club on campus, and attendance eventually grew to 60 teenagers, coming weekly to study the Bible.
Fast forward a few years: when it was time to apply to university, I felt pressured by my Ontario peers to attend one of the established top universities in the area. I was accepted to each university I applied to, but I did not have true peace about any of the options. It was now the spring of 1988, and Jim Cunningham from Trinity Admissions called our home to ask if I would consider Trinity Western for one year. I felt I could do a single year, and so I took him up on the suggestion. In retrospect, it was the best decision I could have made.
When I arrived in BC, I was determined to make the most of my Trinity experience. I ran against six other students for the role of Freshman President, and was elected. Over the course of the next few years I was a discipleship leader, a writer for The Today student newspaper (predecessor of Mars’ Hill), and a Pioneer Girls leader at Fort Langley EV Free Church. I served with a Trinity-run street ministry in Vancouver, and helped in local service projects in the community.
I also did something that I had determined not to do. . . I fell in love with a BC boy. You see, I had planned to return to Ontario, make millions by the age of 30, and put off marriage until I was at least 26. But, looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. It all made my time at Trinity even more meaningful.
My roommate in my first year was Heather Knechtel. She used to call me “Janus (pronounced Yanus) the two-faced household god;” a mythological Greek character who could look to both the past and the future. It seemed an appropriate name; my name was Janice and I was a history major who studied the past. And, as a student of the Bible, I had an idea of what lay ahead.
I remember Bob Kuhn sharing about Daniel in chapel. Bob looked back at this biblical character, and at his culture and times in Babylon. Bob explained that it was very unpopular for Daniel to choose to honour God, and reminded us that it is equally unpopular today to be a follower of Jesus. Bob concluded his message with a challenge: Would YOU dare to be a Daniel in this generation?
Further along in in the book of Daniel is the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These men also dared to defy the order to bow before and worship the image of gold. They replied to King Nebuchadnezzar; “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-20
“BUT EVEN IF.” Reflecting on our past is very important because we must take inventory of where we have been. Each of us has the same twenty-four-hour period to invest as we choose. My challenge for you today: Live your life with courage, kindness and intentionality. Commit each day to Him, the giver of life, and you will look back in retrospect with no regret.
“God gives us enough hours in the day to do what He wants us to do.” - Janice’s Sunday School Teacher