2008-05-28 / Religion

'A Few Thoughts for The Class of 2008'


(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

It is hard to believe that it has been over 30 years since I graduated from high school. I well remember that evening. After enduring the lengthy ceremony, we had a huge Georgia downpour as we made our way out of the stadium. But the rest of the evening was redeemed as I was able to spend some time with a beautiful young lady who later became my bride.

I had no idea what was around the corner after graduation. Looking back at some of the paths that I have walked since then, it was probably a good thing that I did not know all the details of the road ahead. One thing is for sure -- my graduation from high school was not an end in itself, but merely another step in the much larger journey of life, a journey that continues to have fresh adventures, new surprises and occasional disappointments. Even the disappointments have proven to be opportunities for enrichment and maturation.

To the graduating class of 2008, I offer my most sincere congratulations. I trust that your future will far surpass your greatest expectations. I also share the following words, trusting that they will give you encouragement and guidance as you move ahead with your life.

I begin by reminding you that all of life's plans, if they are to be genuinely successful, must be under the guidance and instruction of God. The Old Testament tells us that God called a man named Abraham to follow Him. Abraham became a major figure in the Bible, but initially he was given few details about what he was supposed to do. Genesis 12:1 says, "The Lord had said to Abram [who we refer to as Abraham], 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you'" (NIV). What did Abraham do? Verse 4 says, "So Abram left, as the Lord had told him." If Abraham had refused to obey, many lives would have been negatively impacted. Only eternity will reveal what a difference your obedience to God will make in your world.

I remind you as well that while we live in a frightening world, you do not have to be overcome by fear. As God's plan for Abraham continued to unfold, the Lord appeared to him in a vision and said, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward" (Genesis 15:1). Although life is filled with uncertainties and is sometimes confusing, great strength is gained by knowing that as you follow God you have no need to fear, for you can trust Him even when you neither understand nor like what you are facing at the moment.

And I leave you with this: of all that you acquire in life, make sure that you have real and lasting faith in God -- you will fail without it. Even though Abraham knew very little about where God was leading him and what would happen along the way, he put his faith into action. As Abraham's life moved forward, the Bible records, "Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). That does not mean that Abraham was without flaws or mistakes -- he had plenty of both. Yet because of his willingness to believe God, he was blessed with God's favor. Faith in God is still essential in every life -- including yours -- if it is to be meaningful and fulfilling.

So what does the life story of a man who lived centuries ago in another part of the world with a much different culture than ours have to do with 2008 high school graduates in south Georgia? Perhaps more than you realize. It is true that we have more gadgets than at any other time in history and probably more pressing needs than any society before us. Nevertheless, the basic needs of humankind remain unchanged, and God's plan for His highest form of creation is still the same. Very simply put, you need God, and He has a plan for you. So look ahead, do not fear, trust Him, and let Him direct you even when you do not know where the next step will lead.

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