“If I Were Valedictorian”
A Guest Blog post by Berean Pastor Barry Holbrook
It’s graduation time again…
A time of celebration. A time of victory. A time of bittersweet emotions.
As a youth pastor I get excited and saddened by graduation. Excited to see teens I have grown close to prepare to move on and impact the world as young adults, and saddened because it feels as if a piece of my heart is being savagely torn out of my chest! I will miss my graduating teens…
These days have me doing some introspection. One of the questions that has bounced around my head in the past few days is “What would I say if I were Valedictorian?”
If I were the Valedictorian…
… I would challenge my fellow students to continue to work hard and strive for excellence in every endeavor.
… I would reminisce aloud of the wonderful days of high school and all the amazing memories that my friends created in my heart and mind.
… I would encourage my teachers and coaches to press on for they have impacted my life and many other lives with their dauntless pouring out day after day after day.
All of the above sentiments are necessary and expected. A Valedictorian should speak of these things!
But as a believer in Christ and Valedictorian I would say to my fellow students…
… Work hard and strive for excellence in every endeavor, but do it all for the glory of God.
… God has a plan for each of our lives. Jesus came to us that we may have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10). All of your awards and accolades are wonderful, but the greatest possible goal in life transcends any touchdown or scholarship you may receive. That goal is to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Nothing matters without this relationship and after entering into this relationship everything matters!
…In just a few moments you will hear you name called, you will stand up, walk toward your principal, shake his/her hand and be handed your diploma. The crowd will applaud your efforts and celebrate along with you–you have graduated high school! Receiving your diploma is a big deal. You worked hard for it. You completed all of your assignments and passed all your tests. But in the process of earning that piece of paper did your life bring honor and glory to God? Did you receive the applause of Heaven as you walked through the hallways of your high school? In a moment you will see the smile of your principal as he hands you your diploma–but did you live your life in high school in such a way to hear from God the Father, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
…High school matters. Living for Christ in high school matters more. making good grades matters. Making good grades to glorify Christ matters more. Earning a scholarship matters. Earning a scholarship to continue honoring God in college matters more.
… But what if you do not have a relationship with Christ right now? What if you are sitting here and God is the furthest thing from your mind? You have an opportunity to gain something greater than a high school diploma today. Your diploma will open doors for you. A relationship with Christ opens eternity for you! Graduating high school is the beginning of your adult life. Being saved is the beginning of REAL life! As you prepare to face the world with your diploma in hand, why not surrender your life to Christ so to be genuinely prepared for life?
… You will leave this building today a graduate. You can also leave this building saved, in a relationship with Jesus, reconciled to God the Father. Yesterday you WERE a senior in high school. Today you are an adult. Say yes to Jesus today and be able to say “Yesterday I was lost without hope. Today I have been set free to live forever!”
… Congratulations graduate, the old is passed away, all things have become new.
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