The plug-in site for students in York at college or university connecting with the Churches of York

Love God & Love Your Uni

Luke Smith
December 20, 2007
Luke SmithMy computer is a Mac, I drink Coca-Cola and I own some Nike trainers. As you read that, you will have made some value judgements about me and the brands that I mentioned, positive or negative. As soon as we see a logo that we recognise, it comes with a whole host of assumptions and feelings behind it.

Your face is your logo. When someone sees you, they make judgements, assumptions and have feelings about what sort of person you are. Whether you are funny or not, whether you are clever or not, whether you are fit or not!

But when someone sees my ginger logo do they think, “There is someone who knows how to love people”? Do they think, “He is a kind, gentle guy who actually listens to people”?

The more I think about these questions and dwell on how Jesus loved people, the more convinced I am that we just need to love our mates at uni.

My mates who don’t know Jesus aren’t ready to be told they are sinners. Some of them don’t even have a concept of guilt. Now, obviously there is a place for dealing with sin, forgiveness and reconciliation with their maker, but only when they are hungry for it.Students cleaning other students' kitchens...

St Paul says,

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

And he goes on to say,

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13)

And it wasn’t only Paul that thought loving people was paramount. The big man himself said,

“'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt 22)

Now if the crux of the Old Testament “hangs” on these commandments, they are probably worth getting right. But how do we do that? How do we love our university, our course mates, our team-mates and our flatmates?Students giving out free bottles of water to students outside student venues...

Well firstly, we need to be in a church. A church that will support and encourage us. A church that will release us in our gifts. A church that will challenge and teach us. Now, you may be thinking, “I would go there if such a church existed, but the churches I know are rubbish and irrelevant to my life”. I relate to that frustration, but a great man once said, “The Church is like Noah’s Arc, sometimes is stinks, but if you get out, you will drown.”

Secondly, we need to just get on with it. There are stories from all over the country about students loving their uni and loving their mates because God loved them first. Putting themselves out and living sacrificially to bless other students because God blessed them first.

Some guys are offering to help carry bags for freshers and welcome them to uni, others are handing out free bottles of water at big union nights, some people are offering to pray for people on campus, whilst others are making free pancakes for anyone who wants one. If you want to see more stories go to www.loveyouruni.orgAnd when someone clocks on that you are doing these things just to bless them, just to be nice, just to be their friend, they can’t wait to find out why. They get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God and it sends them spinning.

Maybe if we start to grapple with what it means to love our uni, we will start to pray for our mates more. And if we do that, maybe God will trust us with their lives and let us play a part in leading them to Jesus. And if that happens, maybe then we will start to see a move of God sweep across the universities of this nation.

So are you in? Will you love your course-mates and flat-mates that don’t know Jesus? Will you love the guy who everyone else thinks is annoying? Will you love your lecturers? Will you love your uni?

My prayer is that you will and so will thousands of other Christian students across the UK and that when people see your logo they would think, “that person knows how to love people. I need some of what they have got”.

Luke Smith
Luke spends half of his week working Fusion and the other half working for G2, a community of St Michael le Belfrey. Luke lives in York with his wife Hannah.

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