On Friday night, my brother Luke will join Mick, Katie, and me as a Ben Lippen School graduate. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since I walked the aisle of Shortess Chapel to the seasonal classic “Pomp and Circumstance”. In the years since leaving Ben Lippen, I have learned a few things that I’d like to share with the soon-to-be graduate.
I want you to know how proud I am of you. Graduating high school is a huge accomplishment, and you’re almost to the finish line. It’s been a long race, but you have run it well. Congratulations!
I want you to know that your college years will probably contain the highest concentration of good memories of any four-year chunk of your life. Don’t just go to college; enjoy and savor it. Build meaningful relationships, and invest deeply in the lives of those you love. Learn all you can, both inside and outside the classroom. Cheer for your team, and be the proudest Tiger you can be, win or lose.
I want you to know that what you do isn’t who you are. Pursue your God-given passions, but don’t equate your position or performance with your worth as a person. You may become an outstanding collegiate or professional referee, but that will merely be what you do. Who you are is determined by Whose you are, and He has already set His affection on you with no strings attached (Deuteronomy 10:15). You are loved more fiercely than you can ever fully comprehend.
Most of all, I want you to know that the treasure of life – the most precious thing out there – is knowing Jesus. He has no legitimate competition or rival. The world is going to make you lots of promises, but it won’t deliver. Look to Jesus for the security, worth, acceptance, and purpose your heart craves. He’s the only place where those things can be found in a full and lasting sense. Turn your eyes to Him, and discover the things you hold dearest become strangely dim. May the deepest cry of your heart echo the hymnist’s words, “Take the world, but give me Jesus.”
There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll let some of my favorite authors express my remaining sentiments in their own words:
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:16-19).
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen (Jude 1:24-25).
Cheering for you,