Jump Start # 2345
Ecclesiastes 7:8 “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.”
The month of May begins with a famous horse race in Louisville and ends with a famous car race in Indianapolis. And, in between there are graduations. There are high school graduations and college graduations. These are milestone events in our lives and we will always remember the date that we graduated. Lots of studying, taking tests, sitting in classrooms have led to the completion of school.
Our verse today, is a wonderful reminder. The end is better than the beginning. Finishing well is more important than starting well. For the past four years of high school or college, there have been many people that have come into your life. You have friends that will remain friends the rest of your life. There are some that you may never seen again once you leave school. There have been great moments and there has been disappointing moments. And, with graduation comes changes in your life. The next step. For the high school student it often means going on to college. More school. Spreading out from your friends. Diving deeply into specific studies. For the college grad it means finding a job, that’s more than entry level or a summer job.
With graduation comes some changing steps within us as well. Here are some thoughts:
First, as a young Christian it’s time to take on the responsibilities of being a child of God. It’s time you turned your knowledge and talents to the kingdom of God. You’re not just a kid sitting in a children’s Bible class anymore. You are a young adult. It’s time to turn that light on and spread some salt for Jesus. Get active in a congregation. Get teaching. Have people over. Have a Bible study with people your age. Start carrying your weight and adding to the value of a congregation.
Second, it’s time to start thinking of others. Paul said in Corinthians, ‘when I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child”. Those days are over. You’ve graduated. It’s time to put on the big boy pants and stop being selfish. Children think of self. When they don’t get their way, they cry, pout and have a fit. Some adults do the same. You are a child of God. It’s time to act as Jesus would want you to. It’s time to put on the heart of a servant. Look around and see what you can do. See how you can make a difference in the lives of others. See what value you can add to others. Remember, servants do things without getting praise or anything in return. Servants serve because it’s the right thing to do. A selfish young person in time becomes a selfish old person.
Third, never stop learning. It’s amazing to walk through a dorm on the day students are moving out. The hallways are littered with old textbooks. Tossed. Finished. And, according to current stats, most college grads will never open another book again the rest of their lives. They are finished. How sad that is. It’s different for the child of God. He’s always learning and growing, first in God’s word, but then in other things. Young men ought to read and study leadership books. Some day they will be leading their families and maybe leading the people of God. Everyone ought to read some books about finances. That’s the number one cause of divorce today. People don’t understand core concepts and a book or two could help them with. Books on communication, marriage and parenting will help out so much down the road. If a person learns to become a life long reader, and not of novels and sci-fi books, but books of practical and useful help, they will be so far ahead of most people and have the equivalent of multiple degrees in knowledge and know how. It is said that a person will be exactly the way they are in five years except for the people he surrounds himself with and the books he reads. Don’t succumb to the video age. Read. It’s good for you.
Fourth, as one graduates he begins to pull away from doing things just because the family does and he begins to develop his own identity and his own beliefs. Years of college can crush faith if it is not strong. The influences of wrong can be so powerful that many leave school worse morally and spiritually than when they began. It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time for you to decide for yourself about Jesus. Is He real? Is the Bible message true? And, very importantly, what are you going to do with Jesus? Will you follow Him? Will you do what He says? Will you watch Him from a distance? Will you allow others to change what you believe? Will you walk away from what the Bible says? Mom and dad, back home, will always be praying for you, but now it’s up to you. Will you get up on Sunday mornings to get to worship, or will you just be coming to bed on Sunday mornings? Will you keep your Bible near by or will it be stuffed in a box, up in some closet somewhere? Will the people at the nearby church know you well or will you be so infrequent that they don’t know if you are coming or going? These are going to be your choices now. Will alcohol become a regular part of your life? Will you spend more time in bars than church buildings? Will you date people that have no knowledge or concern about Jesus? Will you make choices to fit in with people at work that you know are not decent nor right? Will you sell your soul just to keep a job or will integrity, ethics and God be the standard of all that you do and who you are?
On your own is exciting. It is freedom. But it comes with responsibility and opportunities. These next steps can lead you to a life long walk with the Lord or they can be the exit door of your faith. You have the lessons from mom and dad. You have the lessons from church. Now, you must decide what kind of person do you want to be. The easy choice is to just be like everyone else. But average in America is overweight, broke and going no where. Is that what you want from your life? God has gifted you, been there for you and has helped you. Now, with all of that what will you do?
The end of a matter is better than the beginning.
We have a Jump Start book written a few years ago directed towards the graduate. If you would like one of these, they are free, email me at: Rogshouse@aol.com. Be sure and include your mailing address.