I want to take a moment and speak to you graduates but don’t worry, I’m not picking on you, I’m speaking to everyone in church today. A Physics teacher said: “Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity. Isn’t that wonderful?” Student: “Yes sir, if he had been sitting in class looking at books like us, he wouldn’t have discovered anything.” Well you’re done with this phase of sitting in class and you might be happy.
One thing is sure: Life doesn’t stop after graduation. In reality, life starts after graduation. No matter what you learn or don’t learn in school or college, life continues on. Let me share some goals and checklists for life after graduation, yes as you go through life.
I. LOVE THE LORD
Jesus said in Mark 12:30, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Now I know that this is what you say you do. In fact, I am guessing most everyone here today would say they do but as I consider this verse and you consider this verse as you go through life, consider the answer to these two very simple questions: What is the center of your personal universe? What do you take the time for? If the center of your universe is any of these things I am about to mention, if an inventory of your time spent is on any of these things, then maybe you don’t.
Is the center of your personal universe: your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your job, your hobby, an addiction, your cellphone, pad, or computer, money, status, or finally yourself? The center of your personal universe must be Jesus Christ.
2. LOVE OTHERS AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF
Mark 12:31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Now this is something many actually have a problem with. It’s easy to love the “neighbor” that we like but it’s harder to love the “neighbor” we don’t like. Now I think we need to discuss those neighbors we don’t like. Now by “neighbor” I mean a broad category of people. Let’s start with the big picture and ask ourselves something. Do my actions and thoughts possess any racism? Do I automatically assume others from another religion are inherently bad? Do I think others from other countries are inherently bad?
On a closer level, how do I treat those who gossip about me? Slander me? Backstab me? Do I display the concept of an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth and seldom display grace and mercy. Jesus loved others who were different, Jesus was filled with grace and mercy not hatred, meanness. Jesus did not ignore or lash back at those who were different or rude. Jesus loved the outcasts, the ones that were different.
3. CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION
I am kind of messing with you on this point. What I really should say is don’t stop growing in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Spend time with the Lord praying. Spend time studying the Bible. You have read many books now but there is one book that is worthy of being reread and restudied and that is the Bible. I know from personal experience that every time you reread scripture carefully and purposely, the Holy Spirit opens up your heart, mind, and soul to new truths.
Let me tell you one more place where you can continue your education: church. Most graduates leave school, leave the house, leave and get on with life and often leave church. You can continue your education by taking the time to worship the Lord each Sunday and listen to the sermon. Frankly, there is more available at church: Sunday school, Bible study, fellow followers who can pray with you, help you and guide you. Don’t find a church or go to church because “that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Go to continue your education and to add to your “home schooling”, you know prayer and reading the Bible at home.
4. GO TO WORK.
Now that I have your attention, what I really mean is to stay connected to Jesus, desire to know His will for your life and then serve Him. We pray “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” each Sunday, well don’t just say the words, live the words. Go to work serving others, go to work being more like Jesus every day. Go to work loving others as yourself. Go to work reaching out to the poor, the needy, the hurting. The Bible clearly says that the Lord loves servants who work. Don’t just graduate and do nothing or put differently, don’t just graduate, I mean know your “saved” and do nothing, that is not Jesus’ will to be done. Jesus’ final words in Matthew drive the point home:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
You will full fill God’s mission and purpose in your life if you love the Lord, love others as you love yourself, continue your education, go to work. That is what Jesus desires you to do.