The following is my speech for the Northwest Family High School commencement which took place tonight, Friday, May 11, 2007.
Paul spoke of David, in Acts 13. Paul told of how the LORD “testified concerning [David]: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’”(v22). Just a bit further down the chapter, Paul makes another comment about David: “…David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, [then he died]” (v36). What will be said about you, graduates?
David faced adversity. So have you.
Andrew, you were born with a condition that many people do not live long with, and yet the LORD has seen fit that you serve Him and for Him to keep you growing strong and maturing into the caring, compassionate, and trustworthy man you are today. Andrew, I’ve personally seen you show love for others as you pray for them in discipleship or as you play with and care for young children or as you welcome someone into student ministries or even befriend someone who might not be very lovable in other’s eyes. You bless me in how you love the LORD and respond to others.
Sarah, you continue to have physical struggles that debilitate you, take you in and out of the hospital, and yet the LORD has seen fit that you serve Him and for Him to give you an incredible heart for others that brings joy to so many whose lives you impact. This is seen in how you are always ready to engage someone in conversation (which Amy would attest to as being completely different from just a few years ago), how your perspective on the pain you’re in now will allow you to comfort others in the future, and how you seek out passages of Scripture that both comfort and challenge you, such as “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (ii cor 4.16). For me, Sarah, you are a shining light of what dependence on the LORD should be.
Bethany, I don’t know you as well, but you’ve had insecurity and timidity in relationships and yet the LORD has seen fit that you serve Him and for Him to grow you, mature you, and as this past year progressed, you have, and I quote, “really blossomed…both academically as well as in the way [you interact] with [your] friends.” I’ve been told that you are a very humble girl who is talented, but you don’t necessarily see it. You’d rather be behind the scenes, and you accomplish this even at such a small school by being behind the camera, which is continually rolling, and you’ve always got that cute and funny smile. You work hard until you master whatever you are doing. Bethany, you are a diamond in the rough which God is making into a shining jewel for Himself.
All three of you have faced, are facing, and will face adversity, still the LORD has been faithful, has brought others around you, and has worked in your lives, just like He did with David.
So, how will you continue to serve God’s purpose in your generation before you die? What will be your legacy? Will you do everything that the LORD wants you to? Keep this in mind as you make decisions of schooling, family, and career. In the book of James it says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the LORD’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (ch4, vv13-15). Is it wrong for you to make plans for your future? Not at all. The idea here is that when you make those plans, remember who’s in control of it all. Remember who it is all about.
Your challenge, graduates, is to make your life all about Him and not about you. It is to do the LORD’s will with your life, loving Him and loving others. It is for you to do all the LORD would have you do. Are you a man or woman after God’s own heart? Will it be said of you, Bethany “served God’s purpose in her own generation,” Sarah “served God’s purpose in her own generation,” and Andrew “served God’s purpose in his own generation”? From what I know about the three of you, that is your desire, so live it. God’s greatest blessings be on you, graduates.
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