Friday, May 7, 2010

My Letter to our Graduates

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations! Be it 8th grade, 12th grade, college, seminary, or ballroom dancing lessons, congratulations to you and your family! I pray you will soak in all the festivities and the special moments that will happen only once. I hope that you will take lots of pictures and share lots of laughs. No more homework (at least for one night)!!!!
It seems like just yesterday I was a junior in high school waiting to get my senior ring. It felt like the day would never arrive when we would finally receive our bling! The wait for graduation seemed even longer! Yet somehow since that point, it feels like life has been going faster than the Millennium Falcon in hyperdrive. Though life may have seemed agonizingly slow up to this point for you (believe me I know – I spent two years in kindergarten), there will never be a slower point in your journey.
I’m also keenly aware that you will be receiving tons of wisdom, advice, and unsolicited opinions over the next few weeks. Whether it’s the 3 “How to Discern God’s Will” books you will receive, or the 6 “How not to have to move back home” books, or 1 from your parents called “Graduation is spelled ‘J-O-B,’” I realize you will not be lacking in guidance. But . . . since I am your shepherd and care much for you, I’d like to offer 3 brief thoughts:

1. There’s only one life and it will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last (1 Cor. 3:13-15). As you try to discern what you should do next, always remember life is a vapor, a mist, a shadow and its brief journey will soon run its course. When all is said in done, all that will remain and all that will have mattered is what you have done with, through, and for Christ.

2. Be a lifelong student of the Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). If you want to be wise, study the Word. If you want to be competent and equipped for every good work, study the Word. If you want to know what matters most in life, study the Word. If you want to please Christ, study the Word – hide the Word in your heart – and live the Word. You may be graduating, but make a commitment to be a lifelong student of the most important Word on the planet.

3. Resolve to boast only in Christ and His cross (Gal. 6:14). Some of you will graduate with honors – congratulations. Some of you will be very successful in your career – congratulations. Some of you will accomplish incredible things – congratulations. None of the aforementioned items, however, will declare you righteous before God. Many of them will even cause you to doubt your need for God because they are fertile soil for the seed of pride to flourish. Please, please, please – hear the Word of the Lord – on this day and every future day the Lord gives you – let your boast be in Christ alone. This is all my righteousness, nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Congratulations again graduates (and families)! May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the next chapter be a sweet part in your journey with Christ. If I can serve you in any way, then please do not hesitate to ask. And by the way . . . I can indeed tell you God’s will for your life . . . Matt. 22:37-39 . . . Matt. 28:18-20 . . . 1 Thess. 4:3 . . . Rom. 8:29 (Don’t be lazy! Look them up and let the summer reading begin!)