He hath shewed thee,O man, what is good;and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
(Micah 6:8, KJV)
Micah’s list seems short enough. The problem for students is that there are all those other lists from teachers, spouses, parents, and offspring. Still, if we are creatures, then our Creator’s expectations deserve a fairly elevated position in the list of things we should be doing. This is particularly true for students: your minds are expanding, new ideas are arriving daily, hourly; and decisions are being made that will affect your entire lives from this point forward. Today is not only the first day of the rest of your life (an observation that is always the case and for all people) but, for you—the scholar—it may well involve decisions that will affect your entire life in major ways. So do I have any “rules of thumb” to suggest? I do—two of them.
Keep Sabbath inviolate for the three “Fs,” —family, friends and (f)ilosophy (or time set apart for thinking about meaning in life if you prefer). During your student days, your mental capacity will grow more rapidly than at any other time in your life. If you don’t allow your ideas of God and Creation some time to keep up with that growth, then all sorts of not-so-pleasant things are very likely to intrude into your future. Either your moral, ethical, and religious capacity will keep pace with growth in intellectual capacity or it won’t, and that is an outcome too painful to contemplate. So be sure, throughout your student career, that you “walk humbly with God.”
Do justly in your relationship. In times to come, your relationship will be largely with your patients. For now, they will be mostly with your classmates. If you come into possession of information that you know would be helpful to the rest of your class—share it. If you are tempted to cheat or cut corner or excuse some action that falls below the standard of action of a lady or a gentleman, don’t do it—even if no one but you will ever find out. Remember, you will be spending the rest of your life living with yourself, and you will know about it. Love mercy—offer help where help is needed. Take notes for a classmate who is ill. Tutor a fellow student who is having trouble.
Remember that if God is Creator God, then you are a creature in His sight. Carry yourself as such. As God is at work in the world for good, you, created in His image, should be doing likewise. You were created for a purpose. You owe something to the world. Your sphere of influence may be narrow now, but that won’t always be the case.
Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.
– Brian Bull, LLUSM class of 1961