What is there about schoolwork that should point to the gospel? First and foremost, it is God who assigned the schoolwork. God orders all things and determines all earthly authorities, including teachers (Colossians:15-20; Romans 8:28). Schoolwork, no matter how random, tedious or difficult it might appear to be, is ultimately directed by God in his wise providence. One of the purposes of all the work that we have to do is to drive us to Christ and his gospel (Col. 3:17). In order to encourage your children to trust God, you must first encourage them with the gospel message of grace. Their schoolwork is sent to them by God. Schoolwork is a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids how God is involved in the most intimate details of life. Therefore, schoolwork becomes an opportunity to call your children to faith in Christ.
So, when your children are not motivated to do schoolwork, your first step is to encourage them to trust God. He didn’t make a mistake. He actually ordained that they would have this work to do at this time. Encourage your children to trust God’s wisdom in providing their work for them.
God has not made a mistake in giving the assignment, even if the human teacher did! Encourage your child not to rely on his own feelings and understanding, but to actively trust God’s wisdom. The ultimate reality is that your child’s assignments are from God. (Colossians 3:23 teaches that this is true for all tasks, not just schoolwork.) Therefore, this is a matter of obedience to God—schoolwork is not primarily about getting grades or pleasing teachers and parents. Schoolwork is about bringing honor to God.
Schoolwork assignments are opportunities to show just how intimately God is involved in the life of your children. These assignments were handpicked by God, even the challenging ones, especially for your child so that he would look to Christ for the strength and wisdom to accomplish the task. This understanding will serve them well for their life. Your children will have professors, supervisors, employers who will not always give assignments that are reasonable and fair. Your children will need the motivation of the gospel to not become discouraged in these situations. Bringing honor to God is what all of life is about.
If you teach discipline and hard work as the primary means to accomplishing schoolwork you will give your children a faulty picture of how life works. Most importantly, your children are dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish what God has called them to do. Your children need Christ to do their work in a way that honors God. They need to see that their work has been given to them by God so that they will come to trust him for the strength to do their work. True biblical discipline flows from seeing the need for Christ’s grace in all of life.