"The Christian fact is very straightforward: To be a student is a calling. Your parents are setting up accounts to pay the bills, or you are scraping together your own resources and taking out loans, or a scholarship is making college possible. Whatever the practical source, the end result is the same. You are privileged to enter a time – four years! – during which your main job is to listen to lectures, attend seminars, go to labs, and read books.
"…It is an extraordinary gift. We need you to take seriously the calling that is yours by virtue of going to college. You may well be thinking, 'What is he thinking? I’m just beginning my freshmen year. I’m not being called to be a student. None of my peers thinks he or she is called to be a student. They’re going to college because it prepares you for life. I’m going to college because it prepares you for life. I’m going to college so I can get a better job and have a better life than I’d have if I didn’t go to college. It’s not a calling.'
"But you are a Christian. This means you cannot go to college just to get a better job. These days, people talk about college as an investment because they think of education as a bank account: You deposit the knowledge and expertise you’ve earned, and when it comes time to get a job, you make a withdrawal, putting all that stuff on a resume and making money off the investment of your four years. Christians need jobs just like anybody else, but the years you spend as an undergraduate are like everything else in your life. They’re not yours to do with as you please. They’re Christ’s.
- From the essay “Go With God” by Stanley Hauerwas, professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School, as printed in the November 2010 issue of First Things.