Tuesday, May 01, 2012
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:23-27
With pride and joy we come to the day when high school seniors are recognized as having completed a course of study. We come to this day with praise for our Lord for his blessings upon us. We come with praise for those who have achieved success in this portion of their lives. We should offer gratitude and praise to teachers who have made their distinctive contribution. We come to this day with hope and anticipation, for the future holds great promise. We come to this day with earnest prayer for divine guidance for you as you begin making the decisions that will determine your destiny.
Life is made up of choices as well as consequences. There are some circumstances concerning which you have had no choice whatsoever. You could not choose your parents, and you could not choose the nation into which you were born. You could not choose the date of your birth or the world situation into which you were born. The past has been formed by the choices made by your parents and your response or reaction to these choices. Now a new door is opening for you. A new era is beginning. You will enjoy more freedom in the future than you have in the past. With this new freedom will come a great increase in responsibility. I hope today that you are mature enough to accept responsibility for your choices.
The new world you face can be exciting and satisfying. The road you choose will lead to your destiny. Your responses to circumstances will determine your decisions. It is only proper that your pastor and your parents come to this day with prayers for you.
1) We pray that you will choose to serve God rather than mammon.
“Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). We live in a secularized world where the scientific approach to life is emphasized. Great emphasis is placed on achieving material success.
A Hindu merchant in Hong Kong was observed burning a candle before an image at the beginning of the business day. Inquiry revealed that he was making a sacrifice to the money god. He believed that the money god could give him financial success. He declared that this was the first thing on his agenda each morning. The world’s strong emphasis on economic success would encourage you to live your life dedicated fully and completely to the search for mammon.
Live for something more than profit.
Live for something more than position.
Live for something greater than power.
Live for something more than privilege.
2) We pray that you will choose to sow to the Spirit rather than to the flesh.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:7-8).
In our flesh we are kin to the animal kingdom.
In our mind and soul we are related to God. While living in the flesh, in the world, we must recognize that our higher nature is in the realm of the Spirit. We are something more than intelligent animals walking around on two feet.
The person is made in the image and likeness of God. He has an inner hunger that cannot be satisfied with anything except a knowledge of and a relationship to the Creator God.
As you give attention to preparing your mind, do not forget your soul. Determine that you will not be content with a childhood concept of God. As your knowledge of the world increases, make certain that your knowledge of God deepens and grows.
3) We pray that you will choose to enter the narrow gate of disciplined living rather than the broad way of shallow drifting.
“ ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14 NIV).
No one becomes a scholar automatically or accidentally.
Scholarship is the result of a desire that is followed by a decision to make diligent inquiry and comprehensive study of some field of knowledge. This requires discipline.
One does not become an outstanding athlete accidentally.
One may possess a wonderful physique and have splendid muscular coordination. However, these do not constitute athletic prowess.
One does not become a medical doctor merely because he has desire.
Desire must be matched with decision and discipline. To follow the course of study that leads to a medical degree requires that one eliminate many available electives and options.
The mighty minority who achieve significance are those who live a disciplined life. Jesus speaks of the gate being small and the way being narrow that leads to the abundant life. He has reference to that narrow gate of decisiveness and the disciplined life of dedicated living. No one can become a dedicated Christian apart from the discipline that makes the will of God the top priority of life.
4) We pray that you will choose to serve rather than to be served.
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
How do you define success? Do you think in terms of stocks and bonds, farms and property? Do you think in terms of a beautiful home and the latest model automobile? Do you define success primarily in terms of the things that you can acquire and enjoy?
If you want to find the highest success possible, you must do so by defining success in terms of service to others. Jesus warned his disciples against the error of thinking of greatness in terms of exercising authority and control over others. He said, “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matt. 20:26-27). Jesus paints for us a word picture of a man who thought of success in terms of being served rather than serving. The rich farmer was eminently successful in planning and following a procedure that produced an abundance of material things. These things made it possible for him to be served by others. The divine verdict is that this man followed a policy of foolishness because he thought only in terms of himself. He forgot God, he forgot others, and he forgot eternity. He was living to be served rather than to serve (Luke 12:15-21).
5) We pray that you will choose the will of God as the road map for life.
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
The will of God is not something to be avoided at all cost.
The will of God is not something that we must endure with dread.
God’s will is all-inclusive and comprehensive, and it leads to the highest possible joy and achievement in life.
God’s will is always ultimately best for us and best for others. God is a good God. He loves us to the extent that he gave his Son to die for us on the cross. All of his purposes and plans for us are purposes of love. To find the will of God for your life is life’s greatest discovery. To do the will of God in your life is life’s greatest achievement.
Now in Conclusion
As you face the future, I would suggest to you that Christ is the way for you. He is the way out from the guilt and from the power of sin. He is the way through an unknown, uncertain tomorrow. He is the way to abundant life, to the life that leads to the highest possible usefulness and happiness. Christ is the way to the Father. In all of your ways acknowledge him, obey him, follow him, and trust him.
God bless you all, Pastor Mike