Summary: Graduation sermon challenging the graduates to keep Christ in their lives as they pursue their education and careers.
CHALLENGE FOR THE CLASS OF 2007
A. Today is a SPECIAL DAY. We will be honoring our High School Graduates.
1. We frequently arrive at some PIVOTAL MOMENT in our lives when we say, “THIS IS IT! This is what I was WORKING for! This is the MOMENT I have WAITED for!” GRADUATION is such a MOMENT.
After what sometimes seemed an INCESSANT round of CLASSES, ASSIGNMENTS, LESSONS, and TESTS--when you COMPLETE your SENIOR YEAR of HIGH SCHOOL or get
your COLLEGE DEGREE, you can say, “THIS IS IT! This is what I’ve worked so HARD for!”
2. Now, certainly GRADUATION is not the ZENITH of LIFE-there is so much more to CONQUER.
However, GRADUATION marks a point to which you have GROWN, and a point from which you must CONTINUE to GROW. Even if your SCHOOL YEARS ended DECADES ago, there are LESSONS to be learned, INSTRUCTION to be received, and MATURITY to be attained.
B. GRADUATION can be a STRESSFUL TIME.
1. FEAR, RELIEF, SADNESS, HOPE, APPREHENSION, and EXHILARATION, all rolled up in a PIECE of PAPER called a DIPLOMA.
This can be a SCARY TIME for you GRADUATES—for you will be VENTURING out into the UNKNOWN and UNSEEN. You looked forward to this day, and now that it’s finally here it brings both EXCITEMENT and APPREHENSION.
2. This is also a STRESSFUL TIME for your PARENTS.
With much PRAYER and many TEARS, they have tried to PREPARE you for this DAY—the DAY for you to LEAVE HOME and be on your OWN. It hasn’t always been EASY for them. Believe me, REARING children is not an EASY TASK.
Mark Twain, the author of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Fin, and other great American classics, gave his sage ADVICE to rearing children—especially teenagers. He said, “When a child reaches 13 years of age the parents should place the teenager in a WOODEN BARREL, NAIL the LID SHUT, and FEED the child through the KNOT HOLE. And when the teenager reaches 16 . . . PLUG the KNOT HOLE.”
3. Now you are entering ADULTHOOD, and I know that have HIGH HOPES and DREAMS for the FUTURE, and I PRAY that God will BLESS your EFFORTS and make everyone of them a REALITY.
Your GENERATION will be the ones who will make a DIFFERENCE in this WORLD, in our NATION, in our STATE, and in our TOWN. But where your EDUCATION, your EXPERTISE, your TALENTS, your INFLUENCE will make the greatest IMPACT on SOCIETY, is not what you do in a LAB, or behind a DESK in an EXECUTIVE office, or sitting at a COMPUTER. Your greatest IMPACT on SOCIETY will be ACCOMPLISHED through the CHURCH by your COMMITMENT and SERVICE to Christ.
C. Although I’ve known you GRADUATES for just two years, I like what I see. I believe that you are fine young men and women. I truly believe that God has some GREAT THINGS in store for you.
I know that as you GRADUATE from HIGH SCHOOL and go off to COLLEGE and be on your OWN, MISTAKES will be made along the way. There will be STRUGGLES and DIFFICULTIES, but I also know that if you LIVE for Jesus and TRUST in God--you will always be
VICTORIOUS. (I PROMISE YOU THAT THIS WORLD WILL LET YOU DOWN,BUT GOD NEVER WILL!)
Graduates, during your GRADUATION CEREMONY next Sunday you are going to hear many CHALLENGING SPEECHES encouraging you to “DO YOUR BEST and BE YOUR BEST!” You’ve probably heard from your PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, TEACHERS, and your BOSS things like: “You’re an ADULT now!” “It’s time to start planning for your
FUTURE!” “Stand on your own two feet!” “Take on some RESPONSIBILITY.” “Don’t throw away your
EDUCATION!” “What are you going to DO with the REST of your LIFE?”
These CHALLENGES are GOOD and IMPORTANT. But your GREATEST CHALLENGE in life is not CLIMBING the CORPORATE LADDER and making a SIX-FIGURE INCOME.
The CHALLENGE that is going to LAST for ETERNITY is the one I’m going to SHARE with you TODAY. It’s certainly not a NEW CHALLENGE. But of all the CHALLENGES you’ll hear during the next few days, I pray that this ONE will be your greatest PRIORITY.
As we honor our GRADUATES today, and recognize the level to which they have attained, I want to tell you about a young man named Ron Arney. As a TEENAGER, Ron was extremely REBELLIOUS--always in TROUBLE with the LAW for FIGHTING and DRINKING. He quit school his JUNIOR YEAR.
A few months after his 18th birthday Ron went to a Christian Youth Rally--only because a girl he WORKED with and had a CRUSH on INVITED him. But while there, he heard MESSAGES about the LOVE and FORGIVENESS of Christ that he had never HEARD before. He was one of the DOZENS of KIDS who went FORWARD during that RALLY and GAVE his LIFE to Christ through BAPTISM.