Good evening! Thank you everyone for sacrificing the time to be here tonight at my graduation. What exactly is this event all about? On the surface it would seem to be a celebration of my finishing a series of textbooks. That is not strictly the case though, because I actually have not completed all my textbooks. Moreover, in the grand scheme of events, finishing a certain curriculum seems like a relatively insignificant achievement. Indeed, this event isn’t really about my achievements at all. Rather, it is a time to pause during a period of transition to look back with thanksgiving and forward with trust in our sovereign Lord.
Starting with the look forward, I would like to lay out for you my plans for the future. They are really pretty simple: get a degree so I can get a land surveying license, get married, start a land surveying firm, and have a family. My plans are in God’s hands though, and what must continually be ringing in my ears is this: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” I would ask for your prayers that as I continue through life my chief goal will be the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.
Let’s now look back with thanksgiving. Psalm 111 says, “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly.” The Lord is indeed worthy of praise for what He has done, and I do thank you for gathering together as a “company of the upright” this evening. Your presence means much to me.
I would like to begin by thanking God for the many people who have been blessings and influences in my life, a number of whom are here tonight. I am sincerely grateful for your friendships—friendships which have left me with many fond memories of working, playing, serving, praying, and worshipping together. Your conversations with me have been tools of both exhortation and encouragement, and your examples have served to inspire me toward greater godliness.
Narrowing the focus a little, I want to thank God specifically for my family. As I have traveled through life, they have been at my side all the way. In times of mirth, they have laughed with me. When sorrowful times have come, they have been the ones with whom I have talked, prayed, and wept. In times of gladness, they have been the ones with whom I have first rejoiced. In short, they have shared life with me. Because we are sinful, messed-up people sharing life together, God has also used my family to teach me about repentance and unconditional love. These are vital lessons, but it is very difficult for one selfish sinner to learn these lessons by himself. Thank you, my family, for walking with me all these years along the journey of life. I love you dearly.
Zooming in yet a step closer, much thanks is due to the Lord for my parents. In them God has painted for me a picture of hardworking diligence, wise thoughtfulness, generosity, hospitality, and tender love. Most significantly they have been the means God has used to expose me to sound preaching and to saturate me with His Word. God has used my parents’ authority to both drive foolishness from me and teach me about submission. When I have struggled, they have been there to talk and to advise.
Throughout the years, they have poured themselves out in so many ways—from the first pains of birth, to the strokes of the rod of correction, to the many hours of counsel, to evenings spent laboring through physics problems or helping me patch my pants. But alas, that list was like scratching the surface of a diamond with an eraser! I’m sure I can’t even imagine all the ways they have given of themselves. Mama and Papa, thank you for all you have done. May God be praised for the way He has used you.
Now, all of that for which I have given thanks is truly but rubbish—compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. Apart from Him, I am dust, a worm justly condemned to eternal death and separation from God. For God is holy and good, the giver of all life and worthy of all worship, but I, in my sinful pride and disobedience, have spurned Him. But behold, Christ, on the cross, absorbed the wrath due me and rose again in victory. God has brought me from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of light—a kingdom which is ruled by Christ Jesus, the King who surpasses all others. To God be the glory forever and ever!