The Gifts of Graduation

I’ve been thinking about graduation gifts. Graduation is one of life’s rites of passage, literally and figuratively. A person passes the tests and completes the required course work. There is a commencement. A commencement is both an ending and a beginning. The graduate will soon discover they have advanced into the “what’s next?” of life. All of that hard work deserves recognition, commemoration and validation. A graduation gift is always in order. When I graduated from high school, my grandmother gave me an Avon toiletry set for men. I still have remnants of that set to this day. The giver wants the receiver to be pleased. 

I’ve also been reflecting on the gifts of graduation that shape my life to this day. Reading, writing and arithmetic head up my gift list, although there are some questions about my subsequent math skills. Music and imagination, science and discovery, history and literature, all were gifts I received at my graduation. The power of preparation, the patience of persistence, the satisfaction of success were all given to me at graduation by my teachers and mentors. I was a solid C high school student. As I neared graduation, a Sunday School teacher handed me a little devotional book called Meeting the Test: A Book of Devotions for Young People. That book challenged  me to find other books where I learned how to study and deeply learn about any subject. It pointed the way to life-long learning and my grades improved substantially in college. What a great gift!

As I explored my call to ministry, I found my way back, time and again, to the insights of Meeting the Test.  One lesson was about getting the most important “degree” of all—the A.U.G. Degree. Last Sunday’s message was based in part on this early life lesson. This degree is found in the King James Version of 2 Timothy 2:15. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Approved Unto God. I’m still working on that degree. It’s the graduation gift worth living for. One day there will be an eternal commencement for us all. It’s not too late to cram for the Final, yet. What might your diploma say?

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Meet the test. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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