First of all, I would like to thank Mrs. Hutt for the invitation to speak this afternoon.
When I recieved the call I was very surprised that somebody would want me to speak at something like this. I’ve always looked at those who are asked to speak at Graduation events as people who I hold in very high regard.
I was never asked to speak at any graduation ceremony that i’ve been in, let’s just say I was never in the top 1 or 2 of my class in HS.
or top 10, top 20, maybe top 35.... of a class around 63 at the time here at Jim Ned.
Let’s just say that my motivation for school came later in life.
But I digress. I’m happy and honored to be here this afternoon and have been very excited to get the chance to encourage the Senior class of 2022 in the faith.
As soon as I got off of the phone with Mrs. Hutt, I was at a Dr. appointment with my 6 year old daughter McKinlee and my mind went right to something that i feel like is confused and misunderstood in many Americans in today’s world.
It is most often thought of in one way
when the biblical way is quite the opposite.
And then I thought well, this topic is actually a good one because i think we probably have a room full of motivated students, ready to chase their dreams in life whatever that may be.
And CHASE YOUR DREAMS YOU SHOULD, but not without being reminded or taught for the first time (either way), what it truly looks like to be GREAT or SUCCESSFUL in this life we have been given God.
GREATNESS or SUCCESS, are words in our world that can be thrown around a lot.
We hear it from athletes,
from music artist,
from anything that has any kind of hall of fame,
we hear this when somebody is very motivated in their job field,
or in a hobby that they love.
A lot of times greatness & success in the world can be associated with things like social media follower s, our ability and athleticism, our IQ and the trajectory that we have in life, our popularity as students or adults, our wants to have the latest and greatest technology, or this idea in our heads that what it means to live in America is to be as successful as possible in money, achievement, influence. And to do whatever you can to get there.
ACHIEVING PERSONAL GOALS.
HAVING GREAT RELATIONSHIPS WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY.
LOVING WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING.
GREATNESS or SUCCESS can also often be considered as HAPPINESS, or SELF FULFILLMENT. This understanding and attitude that life is about what I GET OUT OF IT and making sure that I FEEL GOOD, LOVED, and ACCEPTED.
We can be very good at justifying this in our minds as well to make it sound very understandable in needing to TAKE CARE OF MYSELF RIGHT NOW.
These are the ways that the WORLD THINKS OF SUCCESS OR GREATNESS.
Now, not all of these things necessarily bad!
Please don’t hear me say that.
THEY JUST MAY NOT NECESSARILY BE WHAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD CONSIDERS TO BE GREATNESS OR SUCCESS.
You see, when Jesus came into His ministry here on earth, He began to take what the WORLD THOUGHT WAS TRUTH AND REALITY and He flipped it upside down.
This is apparent in one of my favorite stories in scriptures.
The story comes from Matthew 20:20-28.
In this story, a mother of a couple of the disciples comes up to Jesus and ask Him for her two boys to be positioned at Jesus’ right and left in the Kingdom of God.
Basically asking Jesus, allow my boys to be your two go to officials. Allow them to have the highest position next to you.
To that Jesus asks the two disciples if they are able to drink from this cup of which He is about to drink to which they say they are able… (THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT.)
Jesus tells them that they will drink from this cup in which they have no idea. But their rank, or position is not His to grant,
“but for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.
And then God’s Word says this…
Matthew 20:24–28 (ESV)
24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Isn’t that interesting?
Jesus uses two oxymorons to explain some who is to be GREAT OR FIRST in the kingdom of heaven amongst those who call Jesus Lord and King.
Those who make themselves servants, and those who make themselves slaves.
This is kind of a more graphic way of explaining this truth by Jesus.
He tells us that to be great in the kingdom of Heaven for believers is to humble ourselves, place ourselves under others in service.
HUMBLE OURSELVES AND SERVE, ALLOW GOD TO EXALT YOU.
THIS IS GREATNESS. THIS IS SUCCESS.
WE HUMBLE OURSELVES AND SERVE SO MUCH THAT IT MAKES IT SEEM LIKE WE ARE A SLAVE TO OTHERS.
THIS IS GREATNESS.
THIS IS SUCCESS.
A story I love to tell that runs along with this theme is one I heard from a graduation speech at some college by Dr. Rick Rigsby.
Lesson’s from a third grade drop out.
Some of you may have heard it when it was going viral there for a while a few years back.
But in his speech he mentions a story about John Wooden.
It’s just a quick section in his speech but it’s one that left an impression in my mind.
John Wooden as some of you may know is one of, if not THE GREATEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH OF ALL TIME.
10 championships in 12 seasons.
2 record winning streaks: 88 consecutive games (over the course of 4 seasons.)
38 consecutive NCAA tournament games won.
Named NCAA College Basketball coach of the year on 6 occasions.
The man was a BEAST as far as WORLDLY GREATNESS & SUCCESS.
But he also knew what it meant to be a servant.
Dr. Rick Rigsby mentions in his speech,
“with all those national championships, guess what he was found doing in the middle of the week? Going into the cupboard, grabbing a broom and sweeping his own gym floor.”
I don’t think I really have to give a lot of commentary on that.
Dr. Rigsby continues and says,
“You want to make an impact? Find your broom. Every day of your life, you find your broom. You grow your influence that way. That way, you’re attracting people so that you can impact them.”
I think we can see why he was such a great coach.
JESUS SAYS… YOU WANT TO BE GREAT, YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL… BECOME A SERVANT, BECOME A SLAVE.
HUMBLE YOURSELF & SERVE. ALLOW GOD TO EXALT YOU.
Greatness or success doesn’t come in the form of
the rich or famous,
your status on social media,
popularity or achievement,
building yourself in this world.
It isn’t self love or self fulfilment.
GREATNESS IS NOT seen in Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber, Arianna Grande, Selena Gomez, Dwayne Johnson or Lebron James.
GREATNESS IS FOUND IN people like
Derrick & Sherri Sowell,
James King and Tracie King
Billy Mack Swanzy
and others who I know went 30-48 hours or more without sleep throughout this last week.
GREATNESS is found in the countless other fire fighters from 18 or more fire stations throughout the Big Country who came to help fight a devastating fire.
AND their spouses who might have been home holding down the fort taking care of pets or kiddos allowing time for the fire fighters to do their thing.
SUCCESS is found in the countless others who supplied anything from money, to chap stick to waters/gatorade, to cooking pancakes or providing lunchables or goggles.
GREATNESS is found in those who lended a helping hand and trailer to help get cattle and horses out of pastures and who provided places for them to be.
SUCCESS looks like people in our neighborhood this last week during the evacuation that I saw running from house to house asking if she could help people get things from their homes to their cars.
GREATNESS IS in the Kingdom of God is what I believe we have seen here in this community in the last week.
HUMBLING OURSEVLES & SERVING.
GIVING UP OF OURSEVES, OUR TIME, OUR MONEY AND RESOURCES. UP TO THE POINT OF EXAUSTION FOR OUR NEIGHBOR. Not just our friends. But our neighbors. Whoever that is.
GREATNESS is found in our Savior Jesus. WHO...
came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Here is my challenge to you students as I close. You want to be great?
You want to be a great college student?
You want to be a great worker?
You want to be a great husband or father?
Wife & mother?
HUMBLE YOURSELF AND SERVE.
FIND YOUR BROOM.
FIND YOUR BROOM.
Let me pray.