I once heard from a stage, “You are not special.” Such talk is heresy in this modern age, but fitting words for high school graduates.
The season of graduations is now closed. Thousands around the country were gathered to hear and see their loved ones walk across a stage and witnessed the pronouncement of their accomplishment. Graduation speeches were planned and presented to the graduates, but I can almost guarantee that few shook the mental foundations as one that I heard.
This particular high school class chose their Bible teacher to give their commencement speech. Instead of giving these graduates a “You can conquer the world!” and “You can do anything you set your mind to!” pep talk, this teacher gave them a harsh, but loving, reality check.
1. You are not special.
As much as our mothers think we are special, when compared to everyone else, we aren’t. When it comes to life, we shouldn’t expect special treatment. From believing we are special comes the notion that we are entitled. We can run stop signs because of a time crunch. We can yell at a telemarketer on the phone because we are better than they are and we would never have a job like that. Yes, God did make us unique but unique does not mean special.
2. No one will remember you.
Who remembers which team won the Super Bowl in 1977? Few remember what team, much less the individual players. We can work our entire life but in the end, very few will be remembered. Relationships are what matter. First and foremost with Jesus Christ and second to our neighbor. We must not get caught up in the glory of this world at the expense of others.
3. Life isn’t defined by a few moments.
We all have a tendency to think that the profound moments in our lives shape us into who we are. This commencement speaker reminded me that in fact, the mundane moments of our lives shape us into who we are. The daily grind. The little moments that pass us by are like little lego pieces that eventually make a statue. Those intense moments just show what kind of statue it is.
4. You are all going to die.
Unless the Lord returns, we are all going to die. For some, it will be in sixty years, for others, in sixty seconds. We do not know when our time will come. Having this mindset will help us redeem the time, desire reconciliation with strained relationships, and be better stewards with all that the Lord has given us.
In our age today, denying anyone’s throne of autonomy and crown of ego is a damnable heresy. These points made at this graduation can be that gasp of fresh air in a drowning culture. The next generation must be different, must go against the tides of secularism that is pulling them out to the open sea. This teacher gave me hope. He encouraged me to work hard, not live for myself, focus on Christ, and raise my children to be a godly seed. May we all remember that we aren’t special, no one will remember us, that life isn’t defined in the big things, and that we will all eventually die.