I’m a tinkerer. I love working with my hands, using tools, and uncovering the glory of things long discarded. One weekend my father’s pliers, hammers, vice grips and such littered my workstation and I enjoyed soaking up the sun while measuring and cutting, fitting and grinding, eyeballing and guessing. The family weekend seemed to be going great until my dad exclaimed, “Boy, you’re BURNT!” Sure enough, my seldom-sunned shoulders bore the brunt of the sun that day, and I earned a toasty, tank top tan line that was sensitive and sore to touch. It turns out I needed a covering.

God often teaches me spiritual truths through natural experiences, and this was another opportunity. I enjoyed my time out in the sunshine, and I felt that I was accomplishing something great. What I forgot to mention is that my dad had warned me against the ultraviolet radiation long before I felt the effects of my indiscretion. I chose to operate outside a covering. As a young professional, I’m no longer accountable to my dad for many things. My independence is a chance for me to forge my own traditions, establish my own reputation, and discover my own identity. While all of these things are great, I need to maintain a covering while I’m doing them. To my fellow Chi Alpha Alumni, I offer this advice: maintain your covering.

Many of us can recall the safety and security of our campus community. I can remember sharing my heart with a small group leader over coffee or strolling through a local park with a campus pastor dispensing wisdom. As we travel from our campus community into career and family, we need to maintain a covering. I encourage you to find a house of worship that will provide a shelter from life’s harsh experiences, uplift you in times of trial, and teach you the Word of God so you may grow in faith. We may be enjoying life, and accomplishing wonderful things, but it is important to keep a spiritual covering to avoid getting burned. I know that independence is a touchy subject, but hear my heart. The gifts and talents that you possess can be developed even further by a Godly mentor. The skills and knowledge you gain likely come from a work environment with a supervisor. In the same way that we learn to labor under someone who is responsible for us, we can apply these concepts to our spiritual lives. The Bible encourages us in Hebrews 13:17 (AMP) to “Obey your [spiritual] leaders and submit to them [recognizing their authority over you], for they are keeping watch over your souls and continually guarding your spiritual welfare as those who will give an account [of their stewardship of you]…” In our journey, we can learn from those who have gone before us, and benefit from a Godly covering.

Take some time this summer to relax in the shade, and say a prayer for your campus Chi Alpha. Pray that the Lord would lead students to a Christ-like covering through Chi Alpha while they learn and grow. I also urge you to cover your current pastor with prayer, as he or she seeks God’s will through His word to teach and train us all in righteousness. Be blessed and encouraged, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

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