A Message To Graduates

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grads-2016

I was asked to give a message to the graduates for the MHS Baccalaureate this year. Yesterday I delivered that message. I had an adult female stranger come up to me afterward, and tell me that my message was spot on, and that I should publish it. I've never been asked to publish any of my sermons, so here it is. I omitted a few lines that only pertained to the live audience, but this version gets my entire point across:

All of you are on a journey that has intersected at the end of high school.
I’m so glad God has brought you to this point. Have you given him the credit?
Let’s do that right now. (prayer)

Every one of you have walked different paths with different choices and different people alongside you. Can you remember every choice and every person from your first 18 years? No, you can’t.

Your journey so far could be summed up by your choices, and the people who have impacted you over the years. But what or whom has directed your steps? Or let me ask is this way, what’s your purpose in life? Take a second and think of your own purpose? I’m willing to bet that your answers are all over the place.

Your journey may look like an arrow, or it may look like a roller coaster. But everyone has one thing in common. You all have a main purpose, leading you somewhere. Proverbs tells us in chapter 19:21 “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

I’m calling you all together right now, for one final huddle and break.
What is our purpose? There’s only one. It’s simple. The question I have for you is.
Will you make choices in light of your purpose, or in spite of your purpose?
The purpose that matters most, is that your life brings Glory to God. Think about every significant choice you make. Before you make a choice, you should ask yourself a purpose question…
Should I date him or not? Should I date her or not? Will it bring glory to God?
Should I get this job? Will it bring glory to God?
Should I go to this school? Will it bring glory to God?
Should I move out on my own? Will it bring glory to God?

Sometimes your answer to your purpose question will be a simple yes or no.

Sometimes, your choice needs to be explored further before you can make a decision about whether or not it fits into God’s purpose. Should I go to this church or this church? Both will bring glory to God. So it means you should explore both options and make a decision after you’ve prayed and searched for Godly wisdom.

Sometimes, all of your options may not fulfill your purpose. In that case, it’s good to seek wisdom to find out what God may know that you don’t know yet. Plan C. The bible is the best place to go for wisdom, because it’s always true.

Let's read Proverbs 10:1-13 from Zondervan's, New International Version of The Bible.
"10 The proverbs of Solomon:

A wise son brings joy to his father,
    but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.

Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value,
    but righteousness delivers from death.

The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
    but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

Lazy hands make for poverty,
    but diligent hands bring wealth.

He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

Blessings crown the head of the righteous,
    but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.[a]

The name of the righteous is used in blessings,[b]
    but the name of the wicked will rot.

The wise in heart accept commands,
    but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.

10 Whoever winks maliciously causes grief,
    and a chattering fool comes to ruin.

11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

12 Hatred stirs up conflict,
    but love covers over all wrongs.

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning,
    but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense."

Sometimes your choices may be very specific, and can’t be answered by a bible verse, “Should I major in this subject, or this one?” In this case you should take your time, and spend time alone in prayer, and in the scriptures before moving on. When you pray, ask God to give you His Spirit's wisdom, and the ability to discern what is from Him, and what is not.

Sometimes, you’ll think you’ve made the wrong choice. And you may have regret, and envy. When that happens, remember your purpose. Don't discouraged, we all make mistakes.  God has something to say about that.

Let’s read from Romans 8:28 (NIV) "28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

God invites us to not live in our mistakes, but to learn in them.

Sometimes you can change your mind, and make a new choice, and sometimes you can’t. But you won’t be able to see God’s purpose until you accepted that there are some things you cannot change. 

Sometimes you will feel like you have no choice at all. My hope is that in those times, God’s purpose will be bigger than your choices, and you’ll just go along for the ride.

For at least a year, people have probably been pressuring you make all these big decisions. Do you know why they do that? Because they want you to succeed. Or may be they just want you to get a job and stop hogging the internet while binge-watching Netflix. Either way, they’re right.

Because you’re seniors, you’re at an age where you may be tempted not to choose anything, but to be open to every option, for everything. This is not part of God’s purpose for you. You can’t follow Jesus and live in the “maybes” or “we will sees.” Idleness is where the devil wants you, and where you can forget your purpose. Once Satan gets us to forget our purpose, he’s winning the battle.

There are many choices that lay ahead of you. Even today when you walk out the door. Will your next choice bring you closer or further away from your purpose? Don't ever underestimate the importance of every choice you make. In all choices you will make, remember your purpose question. Will it bring glory to God? If you bring glory to God in the small decisions, then you will be able to do it in the big decisions.

Let’s rally around each other today. All in! One purpose…all glory, to one God!

-Ben

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Ben is the youth minister husband of @gingercasa1 and father of three awesome boys, ages 8, 6, and 3! He loves sports, music, and ministry and hanging out with his family.

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