Farewell to the class of 2013! The fruit of many years of labor will soon be met as you’ll put on fancy clothes, a gown and cap that never seems to fit right, and receive a piece of paper and a handshake. That piece of paper is more than a certificate of accomplishment, it’s the reward of years of hard work. It signifies to the world that ___ has made a significant accomplishment. Perhaps it is the key to a better job, an opportunity to attend college, or the advancement of a career towards a specialization. In any case, this is an opportunity to celebrate. You’ll celebrate with family, with friends, and also with your church.
This year, we will celebrate by recognizing you during a church service and then present you with a gift from the church. We will clap for you and during the prayer time we will gather around you to pray over you, in effect commissioning you to be a missionary in your daily life. Your gift will be books. For centuries books have been the storage place for knowledge, ideas, and events. They’ve served as catalysts for worldwide movements, have created nations, and have brought millions to their knees before the Throne of Christ. Good books have a value that far surpasses the price tag on the back. Good books are worth more than their weight in gold, because good books – books that challenge the mind, stir the soul, and activate the hands – are what God often uses to make dramatic change both in a person and in a society.
You will receive two books this year that I hope and pray are books that challenge you to love God, love people, and serve both more.
The first is a classic, Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper. The power of this book is its simple premise: Jesus is the point, purpose, focus, and essence of our life, and life is far too short to waste on things that don’t matter. Much of the book is Piper’s own reflection on his life and how he has lived it for the glory of Christ, and his encouragement for us to do the same. He shares stories from his church of people who did not count their lives too valuable to give up, a story from Reader’s Digest about a couple who wasted their life in the pursuit of shells, softball, and sailing (p. 45-46), the examples of the Apostle Paul, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and a plea for Christians to live with risk. Our goal is simple, to gladly make other glad in Christ.
The second is a newer book, Just Do Something, by Kevin DeYoung. One of the things I hear often from young adults is “I just want to know God’s plan/will/desire for my life.” DeYoung offers a clarifying perspective: love God with your whole heart, obey His Word, and after that, do what we like. He doesn’t mean for us to live in sin or without boundaries, but for us to see God’s plan for our life through the lens of daily devotion to our work, our families, and our church. In short, he’s making a plea for young adults to grow up, accept responsibility, and simply “do something” rather than sit idly back and wait for God to align the stars.
The reason for giving out these two books is threefold:
- Our goal for you as you graduate is to make a mature commitment to a lifelong pursuit of Christ in everything you do
- Good books are part of a healthy spiritual diet – By giving these out our goal is to give you good nutrition for your mind & soul
- CDs, posters, and other commemorative things often lose their meaning quickly, but good books provide a welcome and needed relief any time
Congrats on your accomplishments, and know that there are many people who are praying for you as you continue to discover God’s work in your life!