Monday, May 18, 2009

Graduation Speech

These next few years will likely define how I live the rest of my life. I am standing on the brink of my future with my fellow graduates, and I realize that we need a clear view of God's purpose for these formative years in our lives. In order to live my life to the greatest benefit to myself and the others that surround me, I must strive to fulfill the purpose God has set before all who follow him.

This purpose is not some vague notion of following a will of God, and feeling out where he is leading us. God has not set a specific plan for my life that, if I deviate from , I am living a second rate life outside his specific will. Rather God has laid out a clearly defined goal in His Word. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, "What is the chief end of man?" The answer to that question is "To glorify God and enjoy him forever." If we strive to glorify God in what we eat, what we drink, what we do, how we make a living; if we strive to pursue complete and satisfying happiness only in God, we have fulfilled our purpose in life. Anything else is wasted, mediocre and unfulfilled.

My goal in these few moments is not to challenge only my fellow graduates, but to challenge all of us gathered here today not to waste our lives on good things. Things like keeping America conservative, battling abortion, helping the poor. If we are serious and committed to finding joy in God, all these other good results will follow. The most effective way to push Christian values in America is not through political action, but by showing the world the awesome love of God that demands us to fall down on our faces in worship. God created us to bring glory to Him. He created us to worship Him. We're forsaking our God-given purpose in life when we allow ourselves to be satisfied fighting for anything less than him.

People may question us, "How can God be loving if he acts as if he's trying to build his self-esteem?" We must answer with John Piper's methaphor, "would you take a man to the alps, then lock him in a room of mirrors?" If God is truly the most wonderful, the most awesome, the most magnificent being, it does not make sense that he would allow us to be satisfied by worldly pleasures. As C. S. Lewis pointed out, it is not that we are unsatisfied with God, it is that we are satisfied in too little. We are satisfied with our cars, our computers, our families when we are offered a life that is infinitely greater. Christ gave his all so we could rejoice and be satisfied in the only person who can truly bring joy.

We must educate the world in the truth that God wants us to be happy. Not happy in a worldly sense. People use this truth to justify sin, when proper application means avoiding sin at all costs. True, lasting, satisfying happiness can only be found in God. The Psalmists recognized this truth. In Psalm 16:11 "In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" and in Psalm 43:4 "I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy." Unfortunately, people will also use this truth to leave Christianity, saying that if God wanted them to be happy he wouldn't have allowed this disaster to strike. How utterly foolish! We must tell them that God allowed the disaster into their life to show them how they were satisfied in too little. They were satisfied in their financial security, then they lost their job. "Its all God's fault!" They cry, and they are right. He was showing them that money cannot be trusted. Their spouse dies, and they blame God. He was showing them they were satisfied in their mate and not in Him. Their children are lost in a tragic car accident and God pleads with them to see that they were too attached to their children, forsaking the God that gave them the gift of their children. I don't want God or myself to be seen as callous. Nobody will find a better comforter than the Holy Spirit, but sometimes in our humanity we forget our frailty and our utter dependence on His mercy for every breath we take.

This is my passion. This is my goal. This is the will of God. That I use my talents to tell the world the message that God offers them glory, and they prefer mud. God offers them joy and they prefer dirt. God offers them complete satisfaction in him, and after they ask him to save them from their sins, they become enamored with the world. What a tragedy. I pray God keeps me from such a fate. I pray God keeps you from such a fate. I pray God uses us to keep the world from such a fate.


Sam Patchet said...

Great job! I hope the people at your graduation ceremony were as challenged by that speech as I was just reading it.

Abby said...

my brother = genius