Have you ever audited a class before? I have and found it an interesting learning forum. I have always valued differing environments to learn about a topic I was interested in, without having to handle the extra responsibilities that comes with taking a class for credit.
My parents modeled an interest in learning, whether by taking a book out from the local library, reading a magazine or newspaper article, or even purchasing a set of encyclopedia’s for our home when my siblings and I were in school. We benefitted from growing up with a taste and joy for learning, and the resources to do it.
The down side you have to address when auditing a class was the financial component. Even thought I was not taking the class for college credit, the payment was the same as if I were taking it for credit. That always frustrated me.
I realized spending ”real” money for a class and not seeing it show up on my transcript was not the best use of my funds. Yet on a few occasions it was the best use of my time, even as I did some of the assigned work and gained information I had not had access to before. It was a trade-off I was willing to make once or twice. The larger reality was that I wanted to get credit for the work I did, along with pre-work, in class work, and extra-credit work, so I could strengthen my resume, and add value to my tool belt of skills. As I think back on my experience with auditing, it reminds me of something I read in the New Testament Book of James.
Pastor James says we should “not merely listen to the Word of God and so deceive ourselves. Do what it says” (verse 22). When you audit a class, you can just listen to the instructor and not have to tackle any of the work. There is no accountability for the content you are being exposed to, or any measure of your ability to synthesize and apply it to your life. You do not have to take the test to prove what you know or are capable of. You literally do not have to do anything.
Sadly, I have met college students who came to the academy and seemed to be auditing the Christian life. They went to church and even participated in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, but they appeared as if they were in a buffet line at a restaurant, picking and choosing what they wanted that day. They were resistant to being called to practice what they believed, or more importantly, what the Bible called them to be and do. If they read Scripture, they treated it like a tweet or Facebook post. If they paid much attention to the preached weekly message at church or Chi Alpha, it carried no weight with them. They never bothered to act on it.
I had to remind them that if they had entered God’s Kingdom through putting their faith, hope, and trust in King Jesus, they were now obligated to learn what it meant to live under His rule. That required getting to know the ideas and commandments (not suggestions) in His guidebook. It also meant leaning on the Holy Spirit to help each of us put them into practice.
Scripture is not like a college catalog or opinion blog post. There is no provision for auditing the Lordship of Jesus. Every day is a test to see if and how we are putting God’s demands on us into practice in real life. His ways are meant to help us flourish. Walk wisely. The Bible has clear instructions for right living. Read the Book of James and find five of them. Then live them.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz