I get asked every once in a while to speak to graduating seniors at Graduation ceremonies in churches. I really, really enjoy the chance to do so, as it’s such a time of great potential for graduating seniors. But like all big events, it’s almost impossible for graduates to realize the importance of the moment while they are in it. We didn’t.
And so, I usually try and challenge graduating seniors to step-back for a moment, almost trying to remove themselves and observe it as if they were someone looking at it from the outside. I challenge them to consider the impact their lives will make, and how much of that will be shaped by what they do in the next months and years.
Last night I got to speak to a great group of graduating seniors at a local church. I challenged them to consider the question: “What will you do to live a life that matters”? I conceded it’s not a particularly novel question, but it is an important one. We looked at a few narratives of people that lived life that made a difference, and how ultimately, our lives will matter most if we made an impact for Christ’s sake and not for our own.
I then tried to leave these graduating seniors with some practical advice. I tried to answer the “how” of living a life that matters, a life that ultimately makes a difference. I broke it down into three points. I thought I’d share them with you in case you wanted to pass them along to a graduate you know.
To live a life that matters, we must:
Live With Passion
College is a time like no other to do the ridiculous things that you can’t do when you’re married with a mortgage and a family. I encouraged the graduating seniors to embrace this. Do ridiculous things. Have fun. Skip class on a sunny Friday afternoon. And so on. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I fully realize that the full life Jesus was talking about wasn’t primarily about bungee jumping or hang gliding. But, I do think that a fully realized salvation includes embracing the everyday awesomeness of our world, whatever that means to you. It’s living life with a passion, and it’s a vital part of living a life that matters.
Live Life With Humility
In Philippians chapter 2 Paul writes that even though Jesus was God’s very son, Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, and he humbling himself even unto death on a cross! If this kind of humility was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us. I challenged the graduates to put other’s interests before their own. To be a servant. To do for others what no one else will. Take up for the weak and the outcast. In a world whose mantra is “me first,” they can never underestimate the impact that their humility can make on the world around them. It is not without reason that Jesus said the first will be last, and the last shall be first.
Live Life With Purpose
There is a very profound spiritual truth I shared with the graduating seniors. It is this: if they are a follower of Christ, their life does not belong to them. There has been a great exchange made. Christ gave His life for theirs. And if they have accepted His sacrifice on their behalf, their life no longer belongs to them. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that we were “bought at a price.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ you are new creation, the old has gone the new has come.” We can’t walk around living the life of a dead person. Our old life with all our selfish desires and trivial concerns is gone. It is dead. Our new life is a life of meaning, a life of grace, a life of purpose!
I believe that purpose can be summed up in one verse: Matthew 5:17, “let your light shine before all men that they may see your good deeds and praise the father in heaven.” I ended by challenging graduating seniors to let their life be such a radiant light that people see them and know they are different and know that the difference in them is Christ, and that that difference draws them to the Lord.
If you spoke to your graduating seniors, what did you share with them? I’d love to know. Consider leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.