Graduation reminds us to question how we’re using God-given blessings
Children who are blessed with loving families, rich experience in Bible classes, strong youth groups, good health and great minds will help change the world.
My older grandchildren in the Roe family have had all these advantages, and they give me great hope about the future of the kingdom. Like many of the youth of this age, they have a passion for service and sharing their spiritual blessings. Jennifer, the older sister who was married last summer, is trying to decide on a career as her husband, Joe, goes to medical school.
Savanna and her brother, Luke, have gone to Honduras since he was 16 and she was 13. They immediately made a connection with the children of Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage near Tegucigalpa. Through the years, they have strengthened their connections in Honduras. Both have studied Spanish in high school. Luke has recently returned from a Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica and will graduate from college with a Spanish major. Savanna will go to college this fall with five years of high school Spanish and plans to major in Spanish and prepare for a life of missions.
For many years, I have been telling college students that their minds are amazing blessings. The mind, unlike some of our gifts, has almost limitless possibility. The more we learn, the greater our capacity to learn. The more we read, the easier it is for us to retain all we read and learn from it. The more the mind is used for creative thought, the more creative we become.
The more the mind is immersed in the word of God, the more lives are transformed. Those blessed with good minds, good learning experiences and good education have obligations to bless the world.
High school and college graduates are listening to commencement speakers urging them to go out boldly to make a difference in the world. I wish that our culture had regular intervals when adults were challenged to think about the question of how they are using their blessings.
My favorite high school teacher said on a weekly basis, “Don’t be one of those people who dies intellectually at 25 but is buried at 65.” Getting in a rut is natural, but each person has to make sure that his or her life is not missing the opportunities to grow and serve more effectively.
Recently, I heard of a 90-year-old who was enrolling in a French course to challenge her mind, ears and speech. Last fall, a retired church elder enrolled in two college Bible classes to learn more about Jesus and to keep his mind active. He had just celebrated his 93rd birthday. His son drove him and helped him into his electric wheelchair to attend class. I attend church with a group of retired men who have a weekly Bible study to fill gaps in their knowledge of Scripture. Many of those men have been preachers and elders.
Many retired Christians travel with Sojourners to teach Bible classes, repair buildings, clean up church properties and repair homes in places where churches are small and struggling.
Some churches are organizing groups of senior adults to build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Some churches have recruited retired business leaders and older couples to serve as coaches for young couples who are learning to manage finances and family. In some churches, teams of people become part of an encouragement ministry and weekly send cards and notes to those on the prayer lists or those confined.
In the same way that the generation celebrating graduation is being urged to face life with courage and determination, every generation should seek a more vibrant relationship with the Father.
Every generation should stretch minds and hearts to grasp spirituality that transforms us into the likeness of Jesus. Every generation should devote at least an hour a week in solemn prayer. Every generation should give back to the community by serving the poor and homeless.
Resolve is the foundation of a meaningful use of life — for every generation.