Summary: A graduation message about remembering, building, and perfecting.
Just what you want and need, someone else talking to you about the next chapter of your life. By this time you have heard enough speeches to last a while, but if you’ll bear with me for bit, I believe I have some thoughts from the Lord to share with you.
Read text and pray
He chose David his servant from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
I. Remember where you came from
A. God took David from the sheep pens
1. It was hard to get much lower than a shepherd
2. David’s family didn’t even consider him to be material for God’s choosing
B. Remembering was an important thing for the people of Israel
1. Passover was a time to remember where they had been
2. Passover was a time to remember what God had done.
C. Remember where you came from physically
1. Joke about the boy whose father told him where he came from (the birds and the bees)
2. Remember your town
3. Remember your position
4. Remember the people
5. No matter what you accomplish in life, never believe that you are better than anyone else is or that you deserve more than they do.
D. Remember where you came from spiritually
1. Remember what it was like before you knew Jesus as your savior
2. If you cannot remember a time when you did not know Jesus, think of what your life could be like if you didn’t know him
3. Remember the highs and lows of serving Jesus. Keep a journal…you’ll be surprised what you learn in life.
4. Remember the past, but do not live in it
a. Spiritually, you cannot live off the way God worked yesterday.
b. Seek God everyday
E. Where you come from, physically and spiritually, will be a tool in God’s hands to prepare you for the future.
II. Build your character
A. The first statement about David’s performance as King was about his integrity, not his ability, not his military accomplishments, not his victory over Goliath, but his integrity.
1. Integrity = (1) an unimpaired condition (2) a firm adherence to a code especially of moral or artistic values (3) the quality or state of being complete or undivided
2. Integrity = being the same inside and out; there are no double standards or justifications
B. National debate over whether character matters or not—does your private life affect your public life?
1. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
2. Proverbs 4:23—Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” (THE MESSAGE)
C. Have character, don’t be one
D. Character is built intentionally, one block at a time, by consistently making the right choices over and over again until they become a part of your nature.
III. Perfect your skill(s)
A. David led God’s people with skillful hands
1. This skill had to be learned
2. He knew how to lead sheep
3. He knew how to protect sheep
4. He did not instantly know how to lead and protect people
B. Colossians 3:23-24—Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
C. No matter what you do in life, do your best.
The road ahead of you will be complex. There will be times when you actually wish for the days when things were easier and you had limited responsibilities. There will be twists and turns that you can never anticipate. When they come, you will have to decide how to handle them. The good news is that you will never have to handle them alone.
When David came from the sheep pens, when he used integrity and skill as a King, it was a result of God’s work in his life. 1 Samuel 16:13 says, “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power."
What I’ve shared with you is not some kind of magic formula for life. It will not make everything go your way and it will not keep you from experiencing your share of heartache, disappointment and hardship. However, it will help keep you grounded and in tune with the source of all good things in your life—God.
Remember where you’ve come from. Build your character. Develop your skills. Do all of those things under God’s direction and you’ll have a better life than you could ever dream possible.