Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education 2021
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 55 seconds.
Mr. Rod McNair walked into the Living Ed classroom and hung a large picture frame on the whiteboard. It was a portrait of a regal couple standing in a throne room. He said, “Have you ever thought as you’re going through the day, How does this relate to me ruling over cities?” It’s easy to think that the little things of today are trivial and don’t affect our future kingships. But Mr. McNair pointed out that the knowledge and skills learned today may be exactly what is needed in the future. He began, “I’d like to tell the story of a real-life king.”
“We shall reign with righteousness for the benefits and happiness of the Siamese people.”
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s longest-reigning monarch, swore this traditional oath when he ascended the throne in 1950. He planned a career in engineering and science, but when his brother was killed unexpectedly, he became king, and duties of state took precedence over his personal interests. Yet, King Bhumibol was more than just a royal figurehead in Thailand’s constitutional monarchy. Because of his training in engineering, conservation, forestry, and irrigation, he had the ability to begin 43,000 development projects in his lifetime. That training started when he was very young. The king said once, “Some people wonder why I became interested in irrigation or forestry… When I was 10 years old, a science teacher who is now dead taught me about soil conservation.”
Apply yourself to dead-end situations.
Joseph is another example of a ruler whose earlier experiences prepared him for leadership. He eventually recognized that his past prepared him for a specific role. He said to his brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). Mr. McNair said, “He applied himself in dead-end situations. Joseph asked himself, What can I learn from this?” Mr. McNair gave seven pointers to the students.
“Take advantage of what’s in front of you.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 reads, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Mr. McNair told the students to not miss out on the three months they have left in Living Ed. “It’s easy to think the big, valuable stuff is somewhere else and miss the goldmine right in front of us.”
“Look beyond what you can see.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 states that Christians walk by faith and not sight. Just like children playing with Legos and dolls, they have no concept of what they will be as adults. “Whatever stage we’re at, we can’t foresee the whole future.”
“Learn how to relate to different types of people.”
One of the biggest lessons a young person learns is that not everybody thinks like them. Mr. McNair said, “You didn’t choose the other people in this program.” Clashes between differing personalities are inevitable. “But you learn that conflict is not the end of the world… Don’t run from it.” The skill to relate to people and work together as a team lasts forever.
“Learn the habit of learning.”
Education does not stop with formal instruction—most of it occurs outside of the classroom. God inspired the workmen who built the tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-7). “God can download knowledge into you… But probably, God used people who had some ability in that direction.” Establish the habit of learning.
“Keep God at the center.”
“For some, life centers around experience—but if we’re not keeping God at the center, that experience is empty.” Even Christ did nothing apart from God and His will (John 5:30). Mr. McNair related how, as a freshman at Ambassador College, he was offered advice from a vastly more experienced sophomore: “You’re going to have too much to do. When you do, make sure you make time to pray.”
“Go all out.”
“That doesn’t mean burn out.” Living-Ed requires the male students to be in Spokesman’s Club and the ladies to do the Women’s Enrichment Program. From cooking for Friday night dinners to participating in the scheduled activities, Mr. McNair said, “Throw yourself into it.” As Dr. Meredith said after his stroke: “I want to learn every lesson God has for me from this.”
“Don’t despise the day of the small things.”
King Bhumibol died in 2016, but his legacy lives on in the Royal Projects scattered around the nation. The small things he learned early in life laid the foundation for his reign. Zechariah 4:9-10 reads, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?” Mr. McNair said, “We’re going to have way more responsibility and opportunities than King Bhumibol… Don’t take it lightly when things start small.”
This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.