Josh Strahan Offers Charge to May 2021 Graduates
May 13, 2021
I am struck by how Donald Miller opens his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:
If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo. But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful. Truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.
(Conveniently, Miller’s reference to “putting on a record” lands with both the graduating hipster and their grandparents.)
Donald Miller’s words are apt for today. Lipscomb is a good school, where you received a good education that will probably set you up for a good job that will earn a good income so that you can one day live in a good house in a good neighborhood. But none of these good things adds up to a capital “G” good life. When Jesus was asked about the truly good life, the kind of life that prepares one for the age to come, he said: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength – and love your neighbor as yourself. If you want to pursue the truly good life, the capital “G” good life that is consistent with the eternal life of the age to come, then:
- My charge to you is that you love God with all your heart – which looks like loving things the right amount: give the most love to that which is worthy of the most love (the Father who created you, the Son who gave his life for you, the Spirit who will pour God’s love upon us if we will allow him), and to give little to no love to that which is not worthy of the love of a human heart (followers on social media, luxury, evasive standards of beauty).
- My charge to you is that you love God with all your mind –pursuing truth even when it’s not easy to find or easy to hear; which means evaluating claims using logic and reason, which means filling our minds with the Truths revealed in Scripture rather than filling them full of Twitter, TikTok, Youtube, celebrity outrage, and cable news.
- My charge to you is that you love God with all your strength – that is, putting your effort toward producing something that is worthwhile – whether in education or ministry or science or politics or history or philosophy or medicine – something that contributes to reconciliation or healing or justice or beauty or truth or family or peace or joy.
- My charge to you is that you love God with all your soul – which is entrusting God with your life, your spirit, your whole-being pledging allegiance to him.
- My charge to you is that you love your neighbor as yourself – which, according to Jesus, looks like a Samaritan stopping to help the helpless, caring for a potential enemy, sharing generously from his own resources to heal the wounded and provide basic sustenance for one who couldn’t take care of himself.
Don’t squander this gift of education pursuing a sham version of the good life, one that only provides shallow, fleeting satisfaction; instead, see this education as a resource upon which to draw as you pursue a truly Good life, the life that you were made for, the life that God desires for you, a life which the Apostle Paul describes as “shining like a bright star in a dark world,” a life centered upon loving God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving one’s neighbor as oneself.
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