“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. (Matthew 6:33)
Coming to America as an international student is both promising and daunting. Hollywood portrayal of the United States fades away and reality vividly sets in. A feeling of emptiness endures for family and friends are across the ocean, forcing one to focus on the sole purpose of being in America—Studies —“I gotta go, I am busy” is the cry of a lonely international university student in his/her new environment. During the transitional period, spiritual consciousness becomes dim.
A quick prayer is mumbled, “God you understand what I am going through, right.” Random verses are read from the Bible hurriedly. Or reading of the scripture is resorted to an occasional Sabbath. Eventually God becomes a second priority. But God’s promise to us is when His kingdom and righteousness are sought first, everything else will be added. What does “seeking His kingdom and righteousness” mean to a university student?
Daniel and his three friends were international students in Babylon not by choice but by circumstances. Their survival in a foreign country was wholly dependent on their educational achievement. How did they achieve scholarship? They had God as their first priority. These four Jewish slaves did not neglect worship. They refused to eat the royal food, depended on pulses and water for their health and strength. They refused to worship king. God made them ten times wiser than all others in class (Daniel 1:20).
Joseph was another international student. He was sold by his brothers, imprisoned by his master for escaping vile. All through this time of despair, God was his companion and his first priority. God blessed him with wisdom while serving Potiphar and in prison. Pharaoh himself admitted that there is none wiser than Joseph in his kingdom and made Joseph second in his kingdom (Genesis 41: 39, 40).
These young men in Bible times are a constant reminder of how God blesses who are faithful to Him. As young adults they knew, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27) and“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). Nothing is gained by our effort and greatness. Thus “Trust in the LORD” How? …with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3: 5, 6). God becomes our decision-making partner in academic life—the choice of higher learning and career path. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). God the Father gave up His Son for us because He loves us more than His own Son. Our heavenly father knows our needs. He will freely give us all things when we first seek the kingdom of God. KK