We are ending 2016, and as I thought about the events of this year and the process our students go through in anticipation of graduation, I was pondering what message I might want to convey to those graduating and those looking forward to that day.
First, no doubt your preparation for life includes your time here at Grand Canyon University. The programs of study are designed to give you the best training available to prepare you for your chosen profession.
Second, the commencement ceremony is a time of celebration and commemorates a great achievement in your life. This is a time to enjoy your accomplishment.
Third, your preparation does not consist of just your time here at GCU, but also includes your life experiences. Take time to reflect on your life and what brought you to this point. I am not encouraging you to dwell on the past, either reveling in personal victories or reliving painful memories, but rather, use that reflection to evaluate how God in His sovereignty has prepared you for this moment.
By way of illustration, let’s consider the Apostle Paul. He is introduced in Scripture as a zealous member of the Jewish body. He was a member of some importance since he was selected to hold the robes at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58), showing he was an individual of some importance. Saul then went on to persecute the church by imprisoning and killing believers. Once Jesus confronted Saul, and Saul became the Apostle Paul, he became one of the most influential voices for Christ.
I review Paul’s history to point out a few things. Paul’s preparation for the ministry of the gospel did not begin when he started professing Christ, nor did it begin when Jesus supernaturally brought him to Himself. It began as Saul began to grow in his knowledge, position and reputation in Jewish society and as a Roman citizen. God never completed his training until He brought Paul into His presence at the end of his physical life. Paul suffered many physical and emotional trials throughout his life after he became a follower of Christ, all described in scripture. These served as reminders to Paul of who he was and whose he was.
Like Paul, as you review your life, your time here at GCU and those instances where God has touched you to bring you to this point, I invite you to recognize God’s hand in your life and His preparation for service. Earning a degree from GCU is a tremendous accomplishment, and on that day, you should be thankful and full of joy. Remember, graduation propels you to another platform, where God will continue to hone you for service throughout your life.
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