As an educator, I am often frustrated at the lack of drive I see in students to get good grades. Is it a generational thing? Is it a family thing? Am I doing enough to encourage good grades? I ponder these questions from time to time as I work to help kids help themselves to a good education.

My grandfather, Evangelist Dr. Bud Lyles, published this article in one of his “Teen Talks” books in 1973. I ran across this article today and it struck me how much this truth about school work still applies today, even 40+ years later. Getting good grades is still a great way to honor the Creator.

Grandpa says this:

“Christianity in its truest sense is not a religion. It is a life.”

“When a person becomes a Christian through receiving Jesus Christ as Savior, that should have an effect upon every area of his life. It involves a change in the heart which should make itself evident in the outward life of that person.

“We are living in an age of get-by-ism. That is, in the time in which we live, very few seem to be much concerned about quality. This is true in industry, in education, and nearly every field. The day of the craftsman who took pride in his work and would not allow a customer to take home an inferior product is just about gone. The idea in our day seems to be “get by with as little effort as possible.” “You can’t be perfect, so why make the struggle.”

“Pride in accomplishment seems no longer a proper motive.”

“The Bible has always put a premium on honest effort and good measure. The wise man, Solomon, said, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” (Eccl. 9:10) Read the advice of Paul: “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” (I Thess. 4:11-12) Also see II Timothy 2:15: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

“Honest labor, honest study, and honest measure are all commended by the Bible. The idea of doing just enough to get by is lazy and dishonest.

“Working at less than full capacity is crooked.”

“Doing “C” work in school when you are capable of “A” work does not honor the Lord if you are a Christian. To be lazy and careless and indifferent toward your school work in not a good testimony for a Christian. I grant you that we do not all have the same mental capacities. Your brain may not be a sleek, twelve-cylinder job. You may have only two cylinders. But God means for you to perk on both cylinders just the same. If you can do “A” work, you should do it. If you can only do “C” work, you should make sure you do “C” work and don’t be satisfied with “D” or less.

“My wife and I were made very happy when our two girls, one in the 8th grade, brought home straight “A” report cards one marking period. Their testimonies were known in the school. The teachers and other students knew they were Christians. There were times when folks who did not understand were critical of them. But when the girls did their school work well and brought home such grades, it made some of the critics think again.

“Christians should never be satisfied with sloppy work in school or elsewhere.”

“They should never be content to live by the worldly standard of doing just enough to get by. They should aim high and constantly strive to do their very best. It is one way to show that Christians are different.

“There is another verse to keep in mind. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31) Remembering to do everything “to the glory of God” should help the Christian to do his very best always. That would surely involve school work for Christian teenagers. Do it to the glory of God. When He makes it come out right, and when you get good grades on it, thank Him for it and let Him get the glory for it. Pray about your school work. Ask the Lord to help you as you study. Pray about exams. Pray for a clear mind so you can remember the things you study. But be sure you study. Don’t expect the Lord to bless your laziness.

“Ask Him to help you do well to honor His name.”

-Dr. Bud Lyles