This week is High School graduation in our county. We had the opportunity to honor the graduates from our church this past Sunday. It was an impressive group of young men and women. It had particular significance for me because my nephew, Harrison Edwards was among them.
After prayer and thought, I feel led to write this week to Harrison and, quite frankly to any of the graduates.
I am proud and excited for this milestone you have reached. You have a family that loves you and is here to support you as you begin your journey. I hope you know that I love you and am proud of you. You have been a part of my prayers and will continue to be.
But first I owe you an apology. Not just to you, this includes your fellow graduates and, quite frankly, my children. I have not made this world a better place compared to the world I was given some 35 years ago. For that I am truly sorry.
You are going out into a world that continues to war with itself. Not just wars in distant countries but wars in this country among groups that seek to satisfy their own selfish desires. You are going into a world that still struggles with poverty and into a nation that has people, especially children, which struggle to have food to eat. In this land of incredible wealth and plenty, it’s hard to acknowledge I have not done anything to make this better.
You are entering a world that justifies the killing of unborn children as a matter of convenience and party politics. Sexual immorality is not just accepted but is glorified in television, movies and music. Greed is a sign of success. Selfishness is a right. Being a victim is a career. Sports and possessions the “idols” of our worship. We have left you with a national debt that boggles the imagination. While “In God We Trust” is printed on our currency, it really should say “We Spend More Than We Have.”
Now it wouldn’t be fair to say these things didn’t exist when I graduated, but it’s absolutely true that I have done nothing to make it better. For the better part of my life I have not been a good steward. Not of the possessions God has given me nor the Gospel. Can one person make a difference? If God is who He says He is, I believe that answer is yes.
I don’t mean to say these things to discourage you or paint a picture of a hopeless future. As long as God is, there is hope. It will take men and women of great character, determination, perseverance and fortitude to change this world. It will take sacrifice and service.
I asked you to be more than “Christian.” That title has been watered down and the meaning for it in this world is not true to Jesus. I implore you to be a “Follower of Christ.” I know that your parents have raised you in the Word, don’t depart from it, make it part of who you are. Fill your life with it. There is great potential in you. God has a mighty plan for your life. Seek it, don’t seek to be what this world wants you to be. Trust me, it is the road to destruction. You can make an impact, you can make a difference. Follow the sermon that Brother Rufus preached: Obey God, Love God, Trust God, Fear God and Honor God.
Harry, please don’t be who I was. Leave this world a better place to your children and to your nephew and any future nephews and nieces. Be bold and courageous, be like Joshua and Caleb. Be like Daniel. I have so many regrets, so many things that I would change. Don’t be me.
Live your life for Christ and seek God in ALL things. If you do, if you will humbly seek Him and follow Him, you will have no regrets. You will make an impact for the Kingdom and you will make a difference in this world.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17: 20-21.
Finally Harry, always be running to the cross!