An object lesson in following the rules is a good way to start the new year. For a visual aid, use a huge check made out to any student; include a large sum in the amount space, or the word “success.” Here’s the lesson:

A student once argued with me that following all the school rules and my classroom rules was a useless waste of time. Why couldn’t he just do things the way he wanted to, as long as he could pass the tests? Here’s the answer I gave him:

“John, when you leave high school, I assume you will immediately start your own company with your own money and resources and begin living your life to your complete satisfaction.” He gave me the startled look I expected.

“Well, I’ll have to get a job and earn some money before I could start a business,” was his reply.

“What business will you start?” I asked.

“I don’t know if I had really thought about starting my own business. I just want to get a job so I can earn enough money to do what I want.”

“So, what you are saying is that you will go to work for someone else in order to get where you want to be?”

“Yes, that’s the only way I know how to do it,” John said, as if I had to ask.

“Will you agree to let the company train you in a job? Will you read the company rule book and the procedures manual if it is required for this job? Will you do what the boss tells you?”

“I guess so; I’d probably get fired if I didn’t,” he said.

“Exactly!” I exclaimed. “You will do what someone else tells you to do in order to get where you want to be. And will this company pay you before you have done your work? Of course not. Look at your situation here at school as your job right now. Your diploma is your paycheck. You are doing what the boss says in order to get that paycheck. If you are willing to do that next year, why not get a head start on it this year? Practice being in your job now.” This made sense to John and he became much more agreeable.

Take this example one step further. Being in God’s will is like pleasing the boss, if you will pardon my worldly comparison. We are told numerous times in Scripture that we will not be truly happy unless we are in God’s will. And it is not in my Bible that we can be happy (pass the test) without conducting our life His way. We are warned of trying to conduct our own affairs in our own way in the parable of the lost son (Luke 15).  Just as we make up our minds to do what we need to do in this earthly life for rewards, make up your mind to do what needs to be done for the blessings of God now (Ephesians 3:20). More importantly, seek the eternal reward, the big paycheck (Matthew 6:19-21).