Summary: A talk given at Pontiac Christian School’s 8th grade promotion ceremony
8th Grade Graduation 2008
Pastor Jeff Williams
Recently, I’v enjoyed telling this joke, or variations of it, to Mr. Marley’s class:
Two penguins are sitting in a bath tub. One says to the other one, “Could you please pass the marmalaide jelly.” The other one replies, “What do I look like, a toaster?!”
This joke has confounded the class. Several students are convinced it’s a geo-political metaphor. Others just think I’m a little weird.
Students, do you want to know the truth? The meaning of the joke is...
There is no meaning! It’s complete random nonsense!
There are many people who would tell you that this joke is very much like life.
I’m here to tell you differently.
I’m honored to be here to help you celebrate your next step in life. I have enjoyed spending Tuesdays eating lunch and playing basketball. The girls were undefeated again this year. I’d like to give you some advice and I’m going to encourage your parents, families, friends, and teachers to eavesdrop.
The Apostle John records an event that doesn’t seem to have much to do with 8th grade graduation. The Passover meal had been prepared, and Jesus and the disciples sat down to eat what would be their last meal together. It was time for a living parable:
I will begin reading in the book of John.
“ Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Jesus knew His purpose so He could take up the towel
You are living in what the philosophers are calling a “post-modern” world. Truth is relative, integrity out-dated, and the notion of the purposefulness of life is relegated to the “foolish, out-of-touch” theologians. I make no apologies for being such a believer. We live in a day where “reality” has become little more that an edited television show that seeks ratings based on outrageous stunts or lifestyles. Let me share with you what is real.
You were born on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose.
You are not the result of random chaos, a big bang, time +chance, or the mutation of primordial ooze.
You are a masterpiece created by Almighty God to change the world!
He had you be born at just the right time, in just the right place...for such a time as this. You are not a mistake, you are not expendable.
You were fashioned by a Master Artist for His good pleasure. Listen to how David puts it in Psalm 139:13-16:
Ps 139:13-16: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
God ordained your days before you were ever born. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:9 that God has plans and purposes for you that are far beyond your wildest imaginations. Jeremiah, writing to people far away from home and losing hope, writes,
Jer 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “
Jesus could take up the towel because He understood who He was and what His ultimate purpose was. The Savior of the world washed dirty feet. While his disciples argued over who of them were the greatest, Jesus gave them a stunning word-picture of what it means to be a servant-leader. Less than twenty-four hours later, these same hands would be nailed to a wooden cross beam on a hill outside the city in the ultimate act of servant hood and sacrifice.
What is God’s main purpose for you? Is it to make you happy, healthy, and self-confident? Is it to make you rich, popular, or famous? No! God’s main purpose in your lives is for you to radiate the love of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.
The Apostle Paul said it this way:
Rom 8:29: For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…”
God is working on you even now to make you more and more into the image of His Son. He chisels, sands, breaks, and chops off anything in your life that does not look like the Servant-Savior. Submit yourself to this process.
As you go to high school, there will be those who will seek to define you. Do not let anyone define except for Jesus. There will be those who will tell you that you are not enough - pretty, thin, smart enough. That is a lie straight from the pit of hell. If you are a Christian, then you are more than enough. You are a child of the King. So act like the princes and princesses you are.