“Moooommmm… I… didn’t…do…good…on… (sob)…my (gasp)… Chemistry… (sniff)…tessssttttttt. I…won’t…get…an.. A!”
That is a real (ok, paraphrased) excerpt from a conversation that I frequently had with my Mom on the phone my freshmen year of college at K-State.
Chemistry was a nightmare. And when I bombed that first test, I was convinced my life was over. Seriously. Up until that point, I had only gotten a “B” on a report card ONCE in my life, and that was my freshmen year of high school in Algebra. (What IS it with freshmen year? And boo on math.)
I despised chemistry. (And still do, just for the record.) I didn’t understand it. I didn’t get it. And I didn’t get an A that semester. What a way to start out my college career, huh?
My friends and I had a theory in college. We called it the “Rule of 4.0.” The idea was that there were many things in life that once you fell short, it was hard to care about trying to work hard at it again.
Chemistry class was my example. After I got that first “B” in college, I knew there was no hope of pulling a 4.0. My record was marred. So I had a choice to make… would I keep trying to do well in college? Or since I had fallen short of my dreams of “perfect” grades, should I just sorta half-way try and count it all as lost?
Fortunately, my motivation kicked in and I kept trying. No, I didn’t get my 4.0 due to falling short early on (Thanks, Chem I and II…) But I did manage to graduate with honors five years later. (I took a victory lap for my undergrad, just because I could.)
Now you might be wondering: “Uh, Sharita, I am kind of done with school. What in the name of sodium chloride does this have to do with me?”
Great question. I’m glad you asked. The “Rule of 4.0” doesn’t just apply to literal grade point averages. It also applies to different areas of our lives. For example…
The Rule of 4.0 kicks in during a long-distance run after you made the mental decision to walk for a few steps… You failed right? Whats the point of trying to redeem your run? Might as well walk the rest of the way, yes?
The Rule of 4.0 applies when it comes to purity… maybe a girl (or guy) decided to engage in pre-marital sex with a significant other, but then they broke up. She/he isn’t “pure” anymore. So what’s the point of abstaining from that point forward until marriage?
The Rule of 4.0 shows up when we get reprimanded at work– we weren’t the perfect employee, so why strive to regain a solid work ethic, right?
The Rule of 4.0 comes to life in our everyday lives when we sin. We messed up… so why try to make it right and live a Christ-like life? We failed.
Obviously, this way of thinking can be a dangerous and little off the mark. The Rule of 4.0 is meant to be an encouragement to think twice about making a decision that might damage your heart, your GPA, relationships or work life. HOWEVER… like it or not, we are ALL going to fall short.
None of us are going to graduate from this life to the next with a 4.0 without the help of Christ.
We might get a B or C in life… or we might even flunk on occasion. God grades on a curve. And that curve is in form of The Cross.
We have the beautiful and blessed opportunity to start fresh every single day, reaching out to Christ for that 4.0 perfect score. Each time we give an incorrect answer or fall short, we can take it to The Cross and learn from the ultimate teacher.
Christ is our Valedictorian. He is the one who will help us graduate summa cum laude. He is the one to restore us to our 4.0.
Here’s to “graduating” with Honors,
“If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.”
–2 Thessalonians 1:12 (MSG)
PS: Where have you needed Christ to grade on a curve in your life? Have you struggled with the “Rule of 4.0?” I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.