Friday, January 16, 2009

"May your hats fly as high as your dreams" - Michael Scott

So I gave my first graduation address today. Sort of. I had the priviledge of speaking today in a Chapel service dedicated to one of our seniors who was graduating early. I've never done one of these things before so I was pretty nervous. I ended up speaking about the future and how students tend to deal with/think about it. I think that most students fall into one of two categories which I feel I have named appropriately:

The Mollie
This is the ideal student for teachers. This student is focused on doing their best and thinks a lot about the future. They have their plans laid out and are seeking to do their best to accomplish their goals. The problem with this student is that they can sometimes become too foucsed on the future. Some kids have their life so planned out and are so focused on getting where they need to go that they miss being effective in the present.
(My wife was more of the former description than the latter, I simply chose to use her as an example to the kids because several of them are just like she was in high school).
The Thomas
This student is fine to have in class. They don't necessarily disrupt things, but they are known for being a bit talkative. This student lives for the here and now. "Why worry about tomorrow, it will take care of itself," is their motto. The problem with this student is that they can be so focused on today that they make no plans for tomorrow. They love people and relating to them, but they don't always think about the long term consequences of their choices.

Both of these types of personalities have their own strengths and weaknesses. Thankfully, Jesus loves both of them and gives some great advice that helps to put the present and the future in their proper perspectives. A Pharisee once asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. His answer is awesome becuase it is present tense, with future implication:
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Loving God with our heart refers to an emotional love that arises naturally from a growing relationship with Him. Loving God with our soul refers to our volition or choices that we make. Loving Him with our mind involves our intellectual nature. Even what we study in the academic world is important to Jesus. So the basic summary is that we are to love God with the totality of who we are. This is the starting point of being useful to God: Loving Him with every part of ourselves. It's only when that is the starting point that we are able to accomplish the second part of the commmandment, to love our neighbor as ourself.
There is a huge focus today on helping others. Scripture is clear that this is a noble and good thing, but Jesus qualifies the commandment to do this by stating that it flows from a heart that is focused on God.
  • When we love God with our heart, we love the things He loves and, conversely, hate the things that He hates.
  • When we love God with all our soul, we choose to act on those things by reaching out to those in need in the world around us. We also stand with God against those things He hates and work to prevent them from occurring or end them if they are already present.
  • When we love God with all our mind, we understand that all of what we learn academically can be of use to God. The things that we choose to study will play a major role in making us into the people we ultimately become. And who we become, is of great importance in terms of how God can use us in this world.

For students, loving God with all they are in the present affects the choices they make now that play a massive role in who they become. The challenge for all of us is to love God this way so that we are useful to Him in our local and global communities. This is the heart of Jesus' message and the only way that we can keep the present and the future in their proper perspectives.

1 comment:

redneckmusings said...

good analogies.