You have chosen the theme for the graduation banquet to be Phase One Complete. Congratulations on successfully completing this phase!
Let’s ponder upon some fond memories during this first phase of your lives. A young boy used to wonder why his parents needed to work, since they possessed an ATM debit card! His parents could have inserted their “magic” debit card into any ATM machine as they wished and cashed out as much money as they needed from it. An ideal job for another young fellow would be sitting behind an ATM machine, counting the numerous bills and pushing them out through the money slot. A brilliant girl had a different idea. When she was little, she thought that she could make money by buying more stuff. See, this was her logic. When you bought a good and broke a $500 bill, you got many smaller bills for change. The more goods you bought, the more money you made. Wow, these recollections were heart-warming and cute. I hope that the past twelve years of primary and secondary education have given you a different worldview of work, jobs, and money.
Phase One Complete, this prompts me to think about what lies ahead. Possibly… more studies (school work), a career and the corporate ladder (office work), marriage and family planning (house work). As you venture through life, I would advise you, graduates, to become servant-leaders. In Robert Greenleaf’s (1970) The Servant as Leader, he says,
It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead… Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived? (p.13)
Therefore, apply your knowledge, skills, integrity and discernment, growing in love for God and service to humanity. Take your daily work – school work, office work, and/or house work – seriously as an act of worship. The tasks you do with your hands not only complete jobs, build careers, and support your family, but also fulfill God’s calling in your life. A job is a way to a living but a calling is an important part of one’s life, because it is a vital part of one’s identity.
It is said that “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:22-24).
May God bless you, those you work with, and the work of your hands!
Greenleaf, R.K. (1970). The servant as leader. Indianapolis, IN: The Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.