Dear Church Family,

As the new school year kicks off, students will launch into the unknown of what lies ahead of them. The first week of classes was always the hardest for me. That may seem odd because typically no assignments are due during the first week and the curriculum is slower paced as teachers and students get adjusted to one another. So why was this week the hardest for me? Syllabus shock. Let me explain.

During the first meeting of a course, the professor always handed out the class syllabus which contained all of the expectations, requirements, and assignments for the semester. That means by the end of the first weekly rotation, I collected several syllabi which had the effect of making my stomach churn. I would flip through the pages and think about all the work and effort it would take to get to the end and basically want to throw my hands in the air and give up before we even got started.

Why? The combined weight of all that was coming, stretched out over the course of a semester, was scrunched up on a couple of sheets of paper. When I looked at the destination in light of the schedule we would follow, the journey seemed impossible—because I thought of it as needing to be completed in a single day. But big goals and long journeys aren’t reached in a moment. It seems that almost everything worthwhile takes time.

With that being said, how do students get over syllabus shock? They do what they need to do today, today. They do what they need to do tomorrow, tomorrow. And repeat. They aren’t meant to bear the burden of the semester in a day, but over the course of many days. The destination aimed for in the future can only be reached by faithfulness in the present.

So it is in the Christian life. The grandeur of our coming hopes must not paralyze us. Rather, it should produce in us an abiding faithfulness driven by a zeal for the truth and a confidence in our love. Living in this way glorifies the God of that grandeur and thereby accomplishes the reason for our existence. To live this way, as God designed, is for us to live this way together—in pursuit of our great God.