It’s the season of moving up, promotion, and graduation. From preschool through university, the end of an era for students is marked with pomp and ceremony, as is fitting! One young friend, who is graduating from high school wondered about the term ‘commencement exercises.’ He thought that it is a strange phrase. It’s quite accurate. Leaving high school is a rite of passage, a beginning of adulthood.
Commencement points some on to college; others into the workplace. College grads, with freshly printed degrees, are beginning new careers. The differing perspective of graduating students is most interesting. Some are anticipating the next step; others reluctantly yield to the inevitability of leaving familiar settings and friendships.
As I thought about this season of graduations by the thousands, I thought about the seasons of life that we all experience. Life never stands still, does it? We are always ‘moving on’ as time continues to carry us in it’s unrelenting current. Try as we may, we cannot make the world stand still.
Christian, let’s pray for faith to see the ‘next thing’ as a divine opportunity! The Spirit counsels us to “be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (Ephesians 5:15-17, NLT) That’s not just for those with new diplomas or degrees. There are unique ways to grow in grace and serve the purposes of God for you – whether you are 8, 18, 38, or 88!
The key is VISION – having the insight to see the way ahead. Have you lowered your eyes, lost sight of the way ahead? Pray! Really, I mean it. Pray more than a short ‘Hello, Lord. Bless me, my kids, my friends. Amen” kind of prayer. Take time to get alone with the Lord. Wait on Him with focus. Thank Him for Who He is, how you have known His ways in the past, and ask for vision. God promised His people of ancient time that He would lead them. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV) That promise has no expiration date!
We must be willing to let go of yesterday – both its successes and failure – if we want to faithfully walk in the way of the Spirit. Paul writes of his journey. He was a mature believer and yet knew that there were new opportunities to grow. “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. ( completeness) But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-14, NLT) He was forward-focused, not captivated by past glories nor paralyzed in regret.
One of these days each one of us will have a final graduation. (You knew I would go here, didn’t you?) But, even death, we learn from the Word, is a commencement! When we come to the end of this life, we will finally enter eternity, perfected in our knowledge, transformed into a being of unimaginable light, knowing God beyond any shadow. Ah, what a moment that will be. Secure in the grace of God, shown us in Christ Jesus, we need not fear that day. I am not eager to go through the process of dying, but I do not fear death. I see it as a commencement exercise, the last promotion to Glory! Until then, there is living to do, people to love and serve, discoveries of God’s grace and goodness that wait for us at each bend of the road.
The word from the Word comes from a song of David, a prayer.
Make it your prayer today.
“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:1-3, NIV)
” I, by your great mercy, will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies—
make straight your way before me.“ (Psalm 5:7-8, NIV)
And all God’s people said – AMEN!
Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my vision
O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me
Save that Thou art
Thou my best thought
By day or by night
Waking or sleeping
Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom and
Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and
Thou with me Lord
Thou my great FatherI Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and
I with Thee one
High King of heaven
When vict’ry is won
May I reach heaven’s joys
O bright heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart
Still be my vision
O Ruler of all
Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne
© Words: Public Domain