Summary: Graduation message for a Christian High School.

Lessons I Wish I Had Learned...

Various Scriptures

Aberdeen Christian High School Graduation

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Sometimes I tell my kids that I can’t tell them how much I love them because they don’t make words that big.

That’s how I feel about being asked to be the speaker today. I was proud and humbled.

It’s been my privilege to be your teacher, and I hope that more than that, I’ve been someone who has pointed you to Christ in each class.

I didn’t want this to be just another class session, and I didn’t want this to be just a sermon, either (big sigh of relief, I know...), so you can relax a bit there.

My desire today is to simply share some things from my heart, not as your teacher, not as a pastor, but rather as someone who’s been there and wants to give you some practical insight on what to expect as you begin this new chapter of your lives.

Today, in what will be my last time addressing you as students, I want to share with you five lessons I wish I had learned when I was in your situation. Graduating from high school, and facing an exciting, if not totally certain future.

But before I do that, I need to point out one major difference between then and now.: I did not know Jesus when I graduated.

Thankfully, it was only a few weeks into my freshman year at SDSU that I gave my life to Christ.

But in spite of that difference, the lessons I learned later in life are applicable to you now, and I think you’ll find these useful. Had I known these earlier, life would’ve gone a lot smoother, and some of the relationships I had in college would have been a lot better.

So here we go. The first lesson I wish I had learned at your age is that...

1. I didn’t know everything...

And I don’t mean in the scholastic sense.

I was from a small school, and thought I would be just some kind of "super-stud." I figured I would be a big man on campus, although at barely 5’6" and less than 100 pounds, I’m not sure just how realistic that was. But hey! I was full of anticipation and full of myself.

I had a good GPA, and was semi-popular at my school, although I didn’t realize that I was more on the geeky side of cool than on the cool side of cool. If you can imagine a sliding scale of "cool," I was just over the middle toward the geeky side. I was just cool enough to hang out with some, but still hang out with those who wouldn’t be considered cool. And I thought that because of my superior intellect and coolness, I knew everything I needed to know to survive.

I found out in a hurry that I was just another freshman among thousands that I would have to work to become someone worth knowing. My pride took a big hit, and it wasn’t fun.

I found out that not everyone cared for my opinion all the time, and that sometimes my opinion was totally wrong in the first place. And to be honest, that’s still the case today.

Be willing to set aside pride so you can learn. And here’s something really scary: you may end up learning something from someone you would never have considered in that situation.

You never know what God will do. But you have to be willing to step aside and let God do this thing.

So just understand that you don’t know everything at this stage. The second lesson I wish I had learned is that...

2. A sense of humor is essential.

I think most people prefer to be around others who have a quick smile and laugh. Especially when they can laugh at themselves and their mistakes.

Can you do that? If not, let me give you just a small piece of advice: don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else takes you that seriously!

Guess what - you’re not perfect, no matter what your parents say. And I’m not perfect either. Just ask my mother-in-law.

But I’m okay with that.

Romans 12:3 says that we’re not to think too highly of ourselves. And being willing to laugh at yourselves is a great way to avoid that.

You’re going to make some extremely hilarious mistakes in the future. The kind of mistakes that would win people some money on America’s Funniest Home Videos. And sometimes people are going to take advantage of the little foibles in your personality. If you can’t have fun with that, then you’re setting yourself up to become disappointed and bitter.

Read funny books; watch funny movies and TV shows (clean ones, of course, and not at the expense of your studying!), or whatever.

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