Your heart is pounding and your stomach is attempting back flips in those tense moments before the ceremony begins. Gowns are donned, and caps are straightened.
Then you march into the auditorium with your classmates. You fidget nervously on folding chairs while speakers, or preachers, go on a smidgeon too long. You walk across the stage, share a firm handshake, and take your diploma in your sweaty hand. Then you walk back to your seat and flip your tassel from right to left.
Graduate, what are your next steps? Do you hope to become a civil, chemical, or mechanical engineer? A pastor or a teacher? Maybe you plan to pursue biomedical engineering, forestry, business, or computer engineering. Maybe you dream of becoming a freelance writer or graphic designer. Or do you want to work in one of the trades: electrician, carpenter, HVAC? Life stretches ahead, full of endless possibilities!
At this major turning point in your life, this graduate from Manitowoc Lutheran High School class of ’73, would like to offer a little advice: No matter what career path you choose, step forward in faith.
Step forward in faith by giving your very best to your loved ones, your employer, your coworkers, your customers—and especially to your heavenly Father who gave you his very best in Jesus. “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish among a crooked and perverted generation. You shine among them like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16).
Step forward in faith by trusting in the Lord when the storms of life drive you to your knees.
Step forward in faith by remaining thankful for the many blessings your Lord will meticulously weave into the fabric of your everyday life. For the ability to pursue your career dreams and to work and earn a living, for family and friends, for a roof over your head and food in the fridge, and for so much more. “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, by being rooted and built up in him, and strengthened in the faith just as you were taught, while you overflow in faith with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6,7).
Step forward in faith by trusting in the Lord when the storms of life drive you to your knees. “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, because my soul has taken refuge in you. In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge until destruction has passed by” (Psalm 57:1).
Step forward in faith by never losing sight of that day when the academic gown, the business clothes, or the coveralls will be retired for the robes of perfect righteousness, bought and paid for by Jesus. Life is a gift so precious that the apostle Paul urges you, “Whatever you do, keep working at it with all your heart, as for the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. Keep serving the Lord Christ!” (Colossians 3:23,24).
My prayer for you, dear graduate, is the prayer of the psalmist: “May the kindness of the Lord our God rest upon us. Establish the work of our hands for us. Yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17).
Step forward in faith!
The Scripture references used in this article are from the Evangelical Heritage Version.
Author: Glenn L. Schwanke
Volume 108, Number 5
Issue: May 2021