Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Blessing

Two years ago, I had the honor of giving the commencement address at an 8th grade graduation at a school where I had served as both a teacher, and up until that year, a principal. I was approached by the students in this class and personally given this invitation. I was both humbled and honored.

Over the years we had spent together, I had observe each student excel academically and fine tune their various skills and talents. I had also watched as this group of children had transformed into teenagers who were independent and self-confident. I was proud of the Class of 2007 and yet, not quite ready to set them free.

Life brings change, though. These students would be leaving our school in pursuit of higher education, and in the days that would follow this night of celebration, I too, would find myself emptying my desk, clearing out my bookshelves and packing my things in pursuit of God's next call on my life.

As I prepared my speech, I asked the Lord to give me the words. While this was just one small milestone in their journey through life, I did not take this ceremony lightly. I knew the Lord had opened a door of opportunity for me to not only speak words of life into these young hearts and minds, but into the parents, the staff and the school. I had been given this one, last moment in time and I wanted the words I spoke to last an entire lifetime.

I chose two closely related scriptures as the foundation for my address.

Micah 6:8
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Deuteronomy 10:12
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul.

As I spoke, I tried to provoke each person in that building, young and old alike, to live a life worthy of their calling - to take what God had given them and use their life to make a difference in this world and in the lives of others. I reminded them they were created to do what only they could do. Never before, and never again, would someone just like them live on this Earth. This was their moment in time. God had created them with a divine purpose and it was up to them to fulfill it.

As my time came to a close, I ended with the words to the song entitled, "The Blessing".

"This is your true calling", I reminded them. "You were created to be a blessing, but it's up to you. How will you choose to live your life? Life is short. Make each day count. Choose to be a blessing."

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As I sit here writing this, I can't help wondering where each student is and how they are doing? Are they keeping up with their homework and doing their best? Are they withstanding the temptations that come with the passage into adulthood? Are they happy? Are they still connected to Christ? The choice is theirs, and theirs alone.

And the choice is mine and yours. What impact will we make on our world? Will our life be spent in selfish ambition or reckless abandonment for the sake of Christ? What legacy will we leave behind? May God give us the strength to live our life in such a way as to bring glory to Him and justice, love and mercy to our fellowman.
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The Blessing

By John Waller and Troy Denning

Let it be said of us
while we walked among the living
Let it be said of us
by the ones we leave behind
Let it be said of us
that we lived to be a blessing for life

Let it be said of us
that we gave to reach the dying,
Let it be said of us
by the fruit we leave behind
Let it be said of us
that our legacy is blessing for life

This day, You set life, You set death right before us
This day, every blessing and curse is a choice now
And we will choose to be a blessing for life.

Let it be said of us
that our hearts belonged to Jesus
Let it be said of us
that we spoke the words of life
Let it be said of us
that our heritage is blessing for life
We will choose to be a blessing for life.



Will we build up, tear down?,

the moment of truth is now

This day, You set life, You set death right before us
This day, every blessing and curse is a choice now
And we will choose to be a blessing for life.



For your Kingdom


For our children


For the sake of every nation


We will choose to be a blessing for life.

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