Baccalaureate Event (this is a speech I gave to graduating seniors)
The purpose of a Baccalaureate service is to send students forth from High School into the next season of their lives with a blessing, a sense of covering, like an umbrella on a rainy day.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14
You stand on the threshold of your destiny today. Today you begin the process of entering into the reality of a world that so desperately needs you and what you offer it. What every path you have chosen – college, military, career you are now presented with a new sense of freedom. You will now have choices and decisions that you have never faced before. Now we get to see in the playing field of your life who you really are as a person, your character now comes to the front of your life. You now have the privilege of bearing the consequences more fully of the choices you will make. Your world is now filled with bosses and supervisors and teachers who really don’t care about your excuses and reasons whey things weren’t done the way they wanted them done. Power school may be history for you but you will find that the real world is more telling and invasive in it’s grading than power school ever was. Welcome to the real world. The greatest reality show you will ever watch is your own life.
Two Great Characteristics of Jesus;
#1 Jesus’ greatest ability was to call out destiny and purpose from the people who had the courage to follow him. Since his incarnation he has looked into the eyes of people from every walk of life, fisherman, tax collectors, doctors, politicians, sports heroes, and graduating seniors. And asked the same question – do you have the courage to follow me? His invitation to us has and will always be “Can you live a life larger than your self centeredness, larger than your pride, can you walk through life submitted to Christ at the level to where from that partnership you can change the world around you”.
Let me state the obvious you will change the world. At some level your life will leave a mark and impact upon the culture and society around you. Now you get to determine the level and scope of that impact.
#2 Jesus has the ability to declare our value, dignity, and worth to the world around us. His death on the cross tells us that you, as an individual, are worth it. That your life counts, that it has purpose and significance. Our charge today to you is to find that purpose and significance. Don’t settle for less than the all out pursuit of your destiny in life. Don’t stop in that journey and accept the cheap counterfeits the culture offers you.
Starting All Over Again
Sorry to tell you this but you are low man on the totem pole again. As seniors you have enjoyed the top of the food chain feeling. You ruled the world, or at least your High School. Now you are freshman, or the new hire, or the new recruit, or the new kid. That is a very insecure feeling. It is into this insecurity that the temptations will arise. It is into this insecurity that your tests will come it is into this insecurity that you will find the mirror that best reflects who you are as a person.
Getting sidetracked is easy anyone can do that, living life for the moment, catering to your impulses and feelings. Into your newfound freedom will step many varying voices clamoring for your attention. Voices that will say try me, voices and opportunities that make promises that they can’t keep. Voices from people both men and women, voices in the form of peer pressure, voices of intimidation, voices wanting to exploit you, use you. Silence those voices for the sake of your purpose and destiny in life. Say no to those voices and keep sight of your purpose and significance in the earth. That alone will separate you from the crowd and fill your life with a sense of adventure and satisfaction.
As your parents we have done the best we could to get you to this point. Where we have failed you, and we have at times, please forgive us and move on. We tried in a different culture than we were raised in to steer and direct you in life. Don’t buy into any self or culturally induced philosophy that tells you are a victim. We fully understand that you think we have no idea of what we are talking about. That we are archaic and antique. How do I know this – we thought the same about our parents. In one the ironies of life you will arrive at the conclusion that we are not as stupid as you think – We tried our best – move on and make a difference.
As a pastor I will sadly tell you that your graduation on Friday will also mark your potential graduation from spiritual things. Chapel, bible classes, scriptures, a Godly environment all goes away for most of you on Friday. The seeds of truth planted in your life during High School now become YOUR responsibility to nurture and care for. Your neglect of this area in your life will profoundly affect your ability to fulfill your destiny. You are now responsibility for your walk with God. No more reminders, no more cajoling in chapel, it is your call because it is your destiny. I beg you don’t dismiss at trivial don’t dismiss as trite who Jesus is and His absolute right to lead and direct your life.
Do us a favor Please change the world with your life. You can do it. The world is wide open to you. You now move from a small playing field to a larger one. Your opportunities are endless, your potential unhindered.
Live Life with Purpose and a Sense of Adventure