This is one of my favorite things to do as Headmaster of Grace. I get to be the last voice you hear from at GCS.
As I’ve thought and prayed through how I would send you forth, how I would charge you as you leave here, what kept coming back to me was our core values here at GCS, and how they apply to you now as you’re leaving this place.
The first is redemptive community– you have been a part of a community that has been dedicated to building into your life. This community, made up of your parents and siblings, your school, and your church, has prayed with you when you needed guidance, encouraged you when you were down, steered you back on track when you were veering off course, and spoken truth into your life-helped you identify what were your gifts and talents, helped give you a glimpse, a vision of what your life would and could be. This community has taught you how to read and study your Bible, how to pray, how to resolve conflict, how to share the gospel of Christ, how to do many, many other things.
This community, however, is one that was chosen for most of you. The time has now come for you to choose your own community. The community you choose will, in large part, define you. Choose wisely. Your parents have served you well by giving you a model of what redemptive community looks like, what are its characteristics. It always bugs me when I hear people talking about retaining their faith in college, as if all you’re called to do is to simply hang on for dear life and make it out of school with your faith intact.
That is not your charge. You have been called and equipped to lead out in your faith, to be faithful to reach out to others and help draw them to Christ. Not to simply maintain, but to thrive. And, one of the most important things you can do to make that happen is to find a community like this one: one that loves you, supports you, exhorts you in your faith—one that you can be a part of, serve, and pour into. Whether it’s a church, BUCS, Campus Crusade, Intervarsity, or some combination thereof, FIND YOUR PEOPLE. Be a part of a redemptive community.
Our second core value is educational sanctification. The idea of sanctification is personal holiness, but it’s also the idea of a continuous process of becoming better than you once were. I have visited with hundreds of the graduates of this school who went before you, and I can tell you, there is not a doubt in my mind that you are prepared for college. If you work hard and apply yourself, I can assure you that you will do well.
But, what will your mind be? Will you, as Paul says, take each thought captive for Christ? Your parents and this school have given you a great gift, a gift that many others, many others who are followers of Christ, do not have. If studies are to be believed, 90 percent of Christians do not have it.
You have been given the gift of an education that has as its core principle that God’s Word is the foundation of everything you are and everything you learn. You have been taught to see life from that perspective. And, the minute you walk out of here, you’re going to be bombarded with conflicting messages challenging what you’ve learned here.
You honor that gift when you remember that the things you’ve learned here are the measuring rod, the plumbline for everything else you will learn. As you learn new things, set them up against God’s Word, the things you’ve learned here. If they don’t match up, don’t immediately assume that you’re right, or your professors are right, and that the Creator of the Universe, the one who has lived for eternity and knows all there is to know, got it wrong. I have a B.S., a J.D., a M.Ed., and I’m two years into doctoral work (25th grade), and I haven’t seen anything yet that doesn’t reinforce the truth and value of everything you’ve learned. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions; God’s not afraid of you asking them. But, ask humbly and prayerfully, and He will guide your paths. Be sanctified in your education.
Our final core value is life as worship. Most of you heard me talk about this with President Bush the other night. Rom. 12: 1- “present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, for this is your spiritual act of worship.” As brothers and sisters of Christ, you are children of calling. Os Guinness defines calling as “the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.”
This means that studying math, working a job, loving your husband and wife, disciplining your child, and laughing with friends is as holy and as much an act of worship when you do it as is saying a prayer or singing a hymn. Everything you do in your life is an act of worship – you can do lots of things in your life, but, as his child, the only way any of it is ever going to have deep, life-sustaining meaning for you is if you do it all as an act of worship of your Lord. Live life as worship.
We love you, Class of 2014, and we can’t wait to see how God will use you.