Last night, I took the Indiana team to the Getz’s for pizza and ice cream on the rooftop. They do this with every team. It’s a way for his family to spend a little time with every group that comes and for them to hear about missional living in the city. While they talked, I listened and stared out Jeff’s window at the Queensboro Bridge. I didn’t mean to start praying, but it was just like I was quiet and God started talking, not like with words, but with peace, order, and sense.
For a long time law school has been a short answer to the question “what do you want to do with your life?” It takes a enough time to explain to someone what the College of Social Studies is (my major). If they listen to that, they usually don’t have the attention span for a 4 minute well-if-I-move-back-to-DC-I-might-do-this or I-know-what-I’m-skilled-and-passionate-about-but-not-sure-how-I’ll-be-using-them-yet speech. So law school works, but it was more of a default then anything.
I know a few important things about law school.
1) It’s mighty pricey with little to no financial aid.
2) It requires a significant time commitment (before to study for the LSAT, during to graduate, after to pass the bar, and after to pay debt)
4) It will compromise time that I could spend building important business contacts that I could get if I just went for my Masters in Public Policy instead.
5) It will affect my relationships. I will not have the time to build as many strong friendships, limit when I can see my family, and very likely delay when I will get married and have a family of my own.
But I know several other things too, more important than anything on the above list. My decision to go to law school has nothing to do with how many checks I have on a pros and cons list. I only want to go if I can get in a top tier law school, but this has nothing to do with pride either. I am fully capable of spending my whole life taking out the trash and cleaning restrooms in public schools. To be honest, I think I would make a wonderful custodian. I would do a good job and use it as a place to live out my faith missionally. I don’t feel like going to fancy law school makes me any better or gives me the ability to influence any more people than a custodian or a bus driver has. I just feel like law school is place where I will better be applying the specific talents and interests God’s given me.
It’s like this. I have certain skill set. I love reading old books on history, government, and political theory. I love the CSS (College of Social Studies) set up- making my own arguments, defending them, and writing about them. This year I am fellow in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s undergraduate Honors Program, and I just received my first shipment of books. It’s amazing. It’s like doing CSS, but only with books that I love.
When I think about education and knowledge, I always think about that parable in Matthew 25. It’s the one where the three servants receive a certain number of talents from a man. The servants do different things with the talents, but the man who only received one buried it in the ground. When the master came back, he was the only one that did not return more talents to his master than what he had originally been given. His explanation? “I was afraid.” (vs. 25).
This morning, I joined the team on the prayer walk around New York City. We go to various locations, discuss their significances and what they symbolize, and use that symbol to pray for the city. The New York Public Library symbolizes knowledge. There are a lot of intelligent people here, but very little wisdom. I have the interest and ability to acquire the knowledge and bring Godly wisdom to places that would otherwise be inaccessible.
At the South Asian Community Center, they breach language barriers to reach people who otherwise would never come in contact with the Gospel. I’m going to do that at law school. I don’t imagine language will be an obstacle there, but there are mighty high barriers to entry. I know I can cross those barriers, and once I’m there, I will let my approach to my studies glorify God. I didn’t understand how to do that for a long time, but I think I figured it out this year. I was stressed, very stressed, but I learned the difference between stress and fear and fear and worry.
I pray that this explanation doesn’t come across as a mere Christian platitude. If you’ve heard me talk about law school, it might not even seem like a big deal, but it was, because now law school isn’t just something I’m thinking about. It’s something I’m going to do, because it’s the place I’ve been called.