2005 Graduation Address--L.D. Redlin

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Graduation Address

June 5, 2005

L.D. Redlin, Pastor Emeritus

In Christ Jesus through whom alone we will find a meaningful and purposeful life, Fellow Redeemed and especially you the graduating classes of 2005.

I have a question. Have you ever asked yourself: What will I do with my life? That’s quite a serious question isn’t it? But it is one that all of us need to ask ourselves. And especially you young graduates who have reached a milestone in your lives, so to speak—you need to ask yourselves, “What will I do with my life?

I still remember asking myself that very question more than 50 years ago. It seemed very important to me then and it seems very important to me today. For within each life there is potential there are gifts, there are blessings to be developed and used. What are we going to do with them? I am convinced that the Lord has blessed each of us so abundantly that none of us will live long enough to use everything with which we are blessed fully for one reason or another.

It might all seem rather complicated, and many of our young people grapple with this question as they examine careers and educational opportunities. I remember doing that, too. And I yet remember individuals commenting when I was being moved to at least expose myself to the preparation for the public ministry. The comments went something like this. You mean you are going to leave the family farm to go to school? And you’re thinking of preparing for the public ministry? Well, you can’t make any money doing that. And you know what? They were right!!

But then, the Lord in His grace had convinced me a long time ago that life is not made up of money and things. And, of course, Our Lord reminds me of that regularly.

So actually, the answer to that question, “What shall I do with my life?” gets much easier when we realize that the Lord answers that question for us. He answers it rather simply: It’s not your life.

Remember what the Apostle Paul is inspired to write to you, You are not your own for you were bought at a price: therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (I Cor. 6:19-20)

That makes things rather simple doesn’t it? We who are naturally lost in sin have been found by our Lord Jesus Christ. In His holy precious blood we have been washed, cleansed of our sins, sanctified by the power of the Spirit. He has drawn us into His kingdom by the power of His Spirit and we, by His gracious love, stand righteous and justified before God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. In short, we belong to Him, the one True God of heaven and earth for time and for eternity. It’s not your life—it belongs to God.

And so my dear young friends I would like to mention only a few points that you would do well to recognize as you examine the direction you will go as you use the life which belongs to God to glorify Him

1. In all your ways acknowlege Him and He shall direct your paths. (Prov. 3:6)

Acknowledge the Lord in your life everyday. To be sure, my young Christian friends. It will not do for you to sit at home staring at TV and wondering when the Lord is going to show you what He wants you to do.

That would be a little like the preacher by the name of Klaus. He left his sermon preparation to Saturday night. But on Saturday night he was tired. He said to himself, “O I’ll just leave it to the Spirit to tell me what to say.” A few days later Klaus was sharing this experience with a fellow pastor. The other pastor asked curiously, “Well, did the Spirit say anything to you?” “Ya, said Klaus, I tink so.” “Well, what was it that the said?” asked his friend. “Ya” Klaus answered, “I waited and waited for the Spirit to tell me what to say and all I ever heard was this, ‘Klaus, Klaus, du bist faul gewesen.’” In other words, “Klaus, Klaus you are nothing but lazy.”

So it is in life. You may not always know where you are headed. You may not know what the Lord wants you to do. But you need to put one foot ahead of the other recognizing the Lord in your life, praying for guidance and He will direct your paths.

One of my favorite lessons of our Savior comes to us as He as speaking to His good friend Martha. He was encouraging her as He was about to raise her brother Lazarus from the grave. It was then that He spoke those immortal words, If you believe you will see the Glory of God. As you trust in the Lord acknowledging Him in your lives He will direct your paths and you will see it. You will recognize the Lord making all things work together for your good with his loving guiding hand. You will see him working miracles for you.<?p>

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

2. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

The fear of the Lord—holding the Lord God always first in our lives, our thinking, our doing. All your lives you will be using the wisdom of God as you are casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (II Cor. 10:5)

As old Josh Billings, a 19th century humorist, put it in his rather homely down to earth expression, “It’s better to know nothin’ than to know things that ain’t so.” And my young friends there are a whole lot of things out there in this sinful and adulterous world that pass for knowledge and academics but simply “ain’t so.” Just because it’s written in a nicely bound expensive book with glossy pages doesn’t make it so.

It shall ever be true as the Psalmist has said, I have more understanding than all my teachers, (Ps. 119:99) It has been well said, “a simple Christian armed with the Word of God has more wisdom than all of the highly educated people of the world without it.”

3. You cannot serve God and mammon—the stuff of this world.

You simply cannot have two masters for either you will love the one and hate the other or else you will hold to the one and despise the other. Now, take note—the Lord may bless you with many things. Is that a sin? Just as money is not the root of all evil while the love of it is. So, also, is not that one cannot have things and use things and even enjoy things to the glory of God. But get the word, “serve”. You simply cannot serve God and serve the things of this world. They were never intended to be your Lord and rule your life.

You may have many blessings in your life, blessing for this world and this world alone. But beware lest you become their servant. Beware lest you spend your life serving the things, the blessings, rather than the blessings serving you and you serving God.

Indeed, the question is valid and all of us need to think about it. You each have a life—a life that belongs to God in Christ. How shall you use it? Once again the answer is very simple. It’s not your life—it’s God’s. First things first. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

So you see, it’s really not all that complicated after all. It only gets complicated if:

  1. We fail to acknowledge Him in our lives every day.
  2. Or if we begin to follow after the wisdom of this world rather than the wisdom of God
  3. Or if we give our lives to serving the things of this world rather than serving our Lord.

Because of these failures we repent every day.

 

So stay close to your Lord, listen to Him, walk with Him, pray to Him, commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass. (Ps. 37:5) Amen.