Summary: This is a graduation sermon based on holding on to dreams, learning, and seeking God.
Dare To Be
A few years ago I attended a writer’s conference. You see, for the last eighteen years of my life my one goal has been to be a science fiction and fantasy writer. I grew up reading the Narnian Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, and I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I wanted my books and more importantly my name to be recognized just like those men. That was the ultimate goal.
At this particular convention, one of the speakers came up to the podium and the very first words out of his mouth stunned the audience. He said, “Only 1% of you will ever be published in your lifetime.”
Automatically I started doing some math. There were about 500 people in the room. That meant that only five people were ever going to see their name in print. So counted all the published authors in the room that I knew of. There were eight. That meant that the rest of us were never going to get published.
My heart sank. Imagine the discouragement at that moment. All around me other people were noticing the same thing. I’m sure that their hearts were breaking just like mine.
Now I know that during the next few weeks you’re going to hear a lot of encouraging advice from all sorts of places. You’re going to be told to look to the future. You’re going to be told to follow your dreams. You’re going to hear so much of this kind of talk it will all start to mix together.
So tonight I want to give you some words of wisdom. I learned these lessons over the years the hard way. You see, I was like some of you teens here this evening. I thought I knew it all.
I was wrong.
The first thing I want you to know is that you have to hold on to your dreams.
There were writers at that convention that left disappointed. I know of some that walked away and never wrote again. Their dreams had been destroyed.
Right now every single person in this room has dreams. They’ve got goals for their lives. You’re making plans for your future.
You’ve got plans for college. You have probably decided what you want to do for a career. Maybe you’re already thinking about marriage and families. You have dreams.
It’s my belief that dreams come from the very heart of us. Not the one that beats in your chest and pumps the blood through your body. I’m talking about the very center of who you are. The place where all your true desires come from. They’re the dreams that you know if you could somehow achieve them for the rest of your life you would be extremely happy.
Winston Churchill knew about these kind of dreams. In fact he said these words about them, “Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that thing.”
He was talking about accomplishing your heart’s desired. He was talking about being truly happy.
But dreams are so easily crushed. In the Bible, Proverbs 29:18 says this, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Some of your parents and grandparents may know exactly what I’m talking about. You have big hopes for the future. Then sudden the dream is gone and you’re scrambling to figure out where life went wrong. You lose site of the goal. It’s gone and life just seems to go from one day to the next. You want so badly to figure out what’s missing in your life. It’s as though you have lost control of it.
Another version of the same verse says, “Where there is no revelation, the people are uncontrolled.”
For months following that convention I seemed to drift through what I was doing. I couldn’t seem to focus on the writing on wanted to be doing. The dream was slipping away. I had to force myself to write anything.
I had to grab back hold of that dream to keep going.
Through your life you’re going to have to do the same thing.
Hold on to your dreams. Set goals for yourself and always keep them at the front of who you want to be.
Hold on to your dreams.
The second thing I want to tell you tonight is never stop learning.
Right now there are some of you who think you know everything there is to know. You’re smarter than your parents ever were. I know I am.
The truth of the matter is you can never know enough.
Mark Twain once talked about the knowledge of life. He said, “When I was a boy of fourteen I thought that my father knew nothing. When I was a man of twenty-four I was surprised at how much he had learned in ten years.”