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Thoughts to graduates

You made it! Congratulations. Just completing the course, seeing it through, hanging in there to the end, is reason enough for all of us to congratulate you. You finished! It seems like you have been in school forever, whether you are graduating from high school, college, or graduate school, the trip has been a long one and you are excited to have it over. It won’t be long until you will be long removed from the halls of academia. Regardless of what the future holds for you here are four simple reminders that will help you. Four things, which apply to everyone graduating, even to those who have done so in the past.

If you would like the basis for these, read II Timothy Chapter 3, in which the Apostle Paul gives instructions to a “young graduate” who is going out into life as a missionary preacher.

First in verse 14, it reads, “Continue in the things you have learned.” It is one thing to take a course, complete a degree, receive a diploma; it is another to remain a student for the rest of your life. To keep on adding new things, keeping the attitude of anticipation of learning something new, to be curious. Always knowing there is another opinion, always looking for the truth. This should be a pursuit that never ends, for it is “truth that sets you free.” You will become the kind of person others want to know and be around, for you always are learning and sharing new information and ideas. You will be resourceful, interesting, and open minded, listening as well as sharing. Learners are challenged by life’s mysteries, and they are willing to forgo the TV and other things like video games, to pursue the unknown. They are not swayed by majority opinion, but seeking out the facts and confirm them. Most learners are fiercely independent. The look beyond the obvious to the details of the small print, read inscriptions, know the rules, and what motivated the making of the rule. So my first challenge is to remain always a learner.

Also, in verse 14, Paul adds, “Knowing from whom you have learned them.” There are people in your life that you need to remember, to thank, and stay near to as you move on. Never forget those who influenced you in your quest to know the truth in these years of formal learning. Take a moment to thank teachers, friends, helpers, pastors you had as you moved through this time.

When we read this short book in the Bible called 2 Timothy, for it is the second letter Paul wrote to his young “graduate,” we are reminded of the legacy Timothy had received, so my third reminder is: “Don’t forget from where you came.” Timothy had received the basic tenants of faith from his mother and grandmother. Do not discount the legacy of your own life. You are the product of your past, and though your parents weren’t perfect they did impart to you a heritage for you to remember and learn from. Pass it on to your children and grandchildren.

Lastly, don’t ignore God who is in your life whether you recognize it or not. He is the one who made all that we see, feel, sense, and know. You can know God through his word the Bible. In verses 16 and 17, Paul writes, “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in doing the right thing.” All truth you will find is contained in God’s letter to you, pursue it and live a joyous life forever. God bless each of you.