May and June is commencement time. All over the country young people march with caps and gowns and receive their diplomas. High schools, colleges and universities send these young men and women on to the next level of training, employment and life. Speakers charge graduates to vigorously address the challenges and opportunities before them. Commencement time means a new phase of life begins or commences. New doors open.
Revelation 3:8 is a great line upon which to base a commencement address. Christ says to His followers, “Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut.” This is a door of service. “A wide door for effective service has opened to me” (1 Corinthians 16:9). This is a door God opens to extend the influence of the gospel. “God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3). As a graduate, when you walk through this door, you commence a lifelong journey serving God at work, at home, and at play.
When you walk through this door, you therefore renew your commitment to Christ. You renew your commitment to Scripture. You renew your commitment to prayer. You renew your commitment to your church and to your family.
As a result, when you walk through this door, you follow the desires of Christ. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
When you get a job, get married, have children and buy a home, a car, and clothes, these possessions are not ends in themselves. You see your physical possessions and financial resources as God’s means not only for self-support but also for supporting God’s church and for advancing God’s Kingdom. You give to the work of your local church so that souls can be saved and healed, so that men and women can learn to live and work and play to God’s glory. In this way, your finances begin to reap eternal benefits.
When you walk through this door, you also commit your life to love God and keep His Ten Commandments. With an education degree in hand, you may launch a teaching career. Or you may seek a career in research, writing, engineering, media, or technology. This new phase of life may take you to graduate school in law, medicine, or philosophy. Whatever the path you take, you purposefully seek to obey the Ten Commandments. You seek to preserve the sanctity of family, property, life, marriage, and truth. Fidelity and honesty in your business, family and personal life trump position and power.
In the mean time, when commencement from high school or college is behind you, the hope of the ultimate commencement lies ahead. When you lay down your labors and pass from this life, it is not the end. Your body dies; your soul lives on. Through faith in Jesus Christ, you graduate to a life of unmitigated joy. Revelation 21:4 describes it. “He