To Complain, Be Complacent, or Be the Change
by Nathan Escamilla
Whether you are a church member, a pastor, a business owner, a teacher, a professor, a volunteer, a parent, or most importantly, a Christian, there are choices to be made. One can choose to complain about their circumstances, their church, their job, their marriage, or choose to make a difference where they are. According to an article published in 2015 by Dr. Joel Hoomans, people make on average 35,000 decisions a day. The challenge I ask of those that may read this article is, what kind of choices are you making daily? When my friend Jordan Villanueva reached out to me to write an article about education, three things came to mind: complaining, complacency, and being the change. We will get to that, but first, I want to share a little bit so you can get to know me.
My name is Nathan Escamilla, and I am a father to two precious daughters, a husband to my beautiful wife Sarah, a Ph.D. student at Dallas Baptist University focusing on higher education, and an employee at WinShape Foundation. Have I had a perfect life? By no means, but by the grace of God, I am where I am today because of His love and mercy. I grew up in West Texas in a small city called Lubbock, Texas. I was blessed to have grown up in the church with my parents. My father, Tony Escamilla, served as a deacon of the church and worship leader; you know what they say about deacon’s kids. My mom, Sarah, and my sister Bethany also served in the church and continue today. From an early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of serving the Lord, serving the local church, loving people, and working hard. Fast forward some years, and I would be the first in my family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. I then obtained a Master’s degree in Discipleship from DBU, and begin my Ph.D. journey in 2020 during a Pandemic. I never imagined that I would graduate with a Bachelor’s, let alone pursue a doctorate. I like to think that the Lord has a sense of humor.
Over the years, I have been blessed to serve as a worship leader, a youth pastor, a college pastor, and even at times, the church custodian. Each role that the Lord had me serve in has molded me in different ways. Over my 32 years of life, I have worked in fast food, landscaping, a distribution warehouse, as a Hearing Specialist, a substitute teacher, a teaching assistant, a Recruitment Director at a university, and currently as a Manager of Partner Development for WinShape, the ministry non-profit of Chick-fil-A. Each role has been influential on my life and neither are more important than the other. I felt the need to share a bit about my past because there is beauty and appreciation for how God orchestrates one’s life. My heart behind this article is that people will choose education. College/university education may not be for everyone, but education is for everyone. Most importantly, education in the Word of God. Education is essential to help us to be the best fathers, mothers, pastors, teachers, and servants of Christ where we are. As Proverbs 1:7 reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Lailah Akita also said, “The greatest education is the knowledge of God.” I hope that my short testimony will encourage you to be obedient and diligent for the Lord in your context.
Going back to the original focus, what decisions are you making for your life? When I was a kid, I always felt that the Lord wanted me to do something to make the world a better place, but I did not know what. I chose to focus on the power of choices because I have seen people, whether in the church, higher education, or in life, complain about their circumstances, choose to do nothing, or choose to make a difference. I have had plenty of people ask, “Why are you going to college? Why are you getting a Master’s? Why are you getting a doctorate?” to those, I respond, I believe the Lord wants me to. If one truly wants to make a difference, one must be willing to bear the sacrifices that come along the way whether at a believer or a student.
- Complaining does not help anyone. In Philippians 2:14-16, the scripture reads, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (ESV). Proverbs 18:21 also tells us that the tongue can bring life or death. If God calls us as believers to be a light to the world, how can we do that if, as people, we are constantly complaining at or about others? To that, I say, we can either complain or speak life. If you are reading this, I challenge you to think about areas in your life in which you can stop complaining and be the change. Once again, God calls us as believers to be set apart and to be the light. People cannot tell we are the light if we speak and act like everyone else. Instead of complaining, we should spend time praying or in the Word to renew our minds (Romans 12:2).
- Complacency is counterintuitive. There have been more times than I can count throughout my education journey that I wanted to quit. Yes, a student working on his doctorate has thought about quitting hundreds of times. There are and will continue to be times when I must push forward in my education journey and Christian walk. As believers, we must continue to seek the Lord and be transformed by Him. Revelation 3:16 says, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Romans 12:11 reads, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” In life, we can choose to go through the motions of life be pew warmers or hold the zeal that God desires to change the world. In your walk with Christ, education, job, and marriage, I challenge you; do not settle for mediocracy. The Lord desires that we live a life on fire for Him. Life is too short to be sitting on the side lines while there are lives out there that can be impacted by Christ.
- Be a changemaker. While writing this article, I realized that the passion that drives me for higher education is not pride, is not status, but to be able to serve those that are in need. I am thankful for the small area of influence the Lord has given me, but every person can make an impact where they are. God calls us to be the light, to demonstrate love, and to share the gospel. As John 10:10 states, the enemy is here to kill and destroy, but the Lord has come to give life. John 13:35 reads, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The last scripture I want to share is Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” As you read this today, I challenge you to think how can you best serve and love others like Christ. We are all guilty of complaining and being complacent at times, but how can you seek more of the Lord and his Word to be a change maker. How can you make an impact in the life of someone else today? How can you use your area of influence to be a light where God has you?
In closing, is higher education important? Yes. Is college for everyone? Not necessarily. Is education in the Word of God important? Absolutely! Thank you for taking the time to read about my ongoing educational journey. I hope you will be encouraged to make the daily decision to seek the Lord and become a lifelong learner. As a reminder, we can either complain, be complacent, or be the change. You do not need a master’s or doctorate to make an impact. Are those things helpful? Yes, but what is of most significance is being educated in the Word of God. Choose God every day and see how he can transform your life.