I walked out to the car with my parents and siblings from the Bruce Hoffman Golden dome at Sheridan College following my graduation in 1990.
Parked out front was a brand new car waiting for one of my fellow graduates. My dad choked up and I saw tears in his eyes as we stopped to admire the newly purchased vehicle for a moment.
I will never forget his words to me.
“Son, I wish we had the money to buy a car like this for you,” he said. “If anyone deserves it, it’s you! You have never given us one bit of trouble and you’ve done a great job in school.”
We continued walking as a family and without hesitation, but from my heart, I said, “Dad, you and Mom have given me the things that money can’t buy! That is just a car and it will be old in a couple of years, but what you have given us, (referring to brothers and myself), will last a lifetime.
You have taught us what it means to honor Jesus as the Lord of our lives, and to give him first place above all else.
You have taught us by example how to love others. These are the greatest gifts you could’ve ever given me because it will help me to be successful in life!”
And they were more than words! I meant it!
After the death of one of the greatest leaders that has ever lived, Moses, God spoke to Moses’ successor, Joshua and gave him the keys to success in life. (Joshua 1:8 paraphrased) God told him to meditate on God’s words, and obey them. If Joshua would do these things, he would be prosperous and have great success. God made clear to Joshua that this would not be an easy thing to do. Joshua must be strong and courageous!
For all of our graduates this weekend, I want to encourage you that this is still the recipe to prosperous and successful living today! We must live lives that are centered on Jesus as Lord, loving and living according to His words. Putting Christ first in all that we do.
Being successful in the eyes of God, is not dependant on what kind of job you land, how much money you make, what kind of car you drive or what neighborhood you live in.
Many will tell you that kind of “the good life” only leaves you feeling empty and searching for something more!
Success is found in loving the Lord your God with all of your passion, soul, strength, and intelligence and in loving others as well as you love yourself. (Luke 10:27).
Jesus said that if you do these things, you will experience life like no other! (Luke 10:28)
This is not always easy to do, so God told Joshua that he must be strong and very courageous.
I am praying for you, class of 2013. I am praying that you will not believe the same lies and fall into the same traps of many in the graduating classes before you.
I pray that you will live with Jesus Christ as the center of your lives and by doing so you will be prosperous in the things that really matter, such as God’s love, God’s joy, and God’s peace.
To those of you reading this article, I encourage you to help a graduate in your sphere of influence by introducing them to this simple article! If read and applied, it can help your graduate to experience true success in this life and prepare them for the life to come.
Scott Lee is pastor at the Bethesda Worship Center.