I haven’t been asked to deliver a commencement address this spring. I’ve wondered if given that opportunity what I would say to those younger than me that find themselves in the place I found myself over 35 years ago. I have sat through enough commencement speeches to realize the words graduates are most interested in hearing are the words, “in conclusion”.
Anyone that has ever attended a commencement speech has heard those worn out clichés, “this is the first day of the rest of your life”, “you can become anything you choose to become, the sky is the limit”, “you are the captain of your own ship”, and “you are the master of your own destiny”.
Having attended many graduations, I have wondered what it would be like if someone actually stood up to address graduates and simply said…Nothing we have taught you or you have experienced up to this point in your life will have prepared you for what life is about to throw at you.
Life isn’t fair, it never has been. Life will have moments that will be much harder than you ever imagined and you won’t be able to deal with all of it on your own.
Whether you realize it now or not, you desperately need God in your life. The sooner this realization occurs the sooner you will find an inner peace that surpasses all human understanding and there will be days you will need it more than you can possibly imagine.
Contrary to what you might believe at this moment, you don’t know everything and you would be well advised to consult with the One who does. The biggest challenge in life you will deal with is yourself and you will work on that until you take your last breath.
You are about to discover something all of us did at this point in life; our parents aren’t as stupid as we once thought.
Be humble. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. How does that work? You will most likely find this out the hard way like the rest of us have.
Don’t spend more than you make. Be charitable. Laugh out loud as often as you can. Understand that it’s ok to cry and that includes guys too. You learn more when you listen more than you talk.
The most important book you will ever read and study is the Bible. It’s living words have the potential to transform your life and provide direction for life you need. You will need it to hold your life together on those days when it feels like it’s falling apart. It has the potential to spare you unnecessary heartache and grief.
As you chart your course in life be open to the idea that God might have a different plan for your life than the one you have charted. While you can’t imagine how now, I can assure you that you will find the greatest joy in life when you cooperate with the One that created you and knows what He created you to do instead of fighting Him.
If you are interested in avoiding some potholes on life’s pathway try reading one chapter from the Old Testament book of wise sayings called Proverbs daily.
Last but not least, you need to know that no matter where you go or what you do in life you will never be too far from the grace of God. Someday, you will be glad that someone told you this because you will wonder.
Pastor Randy Mitchell