Commencement activities begin today at Concordia Seminary, with the graduation ceremony tomorrow evening capping many events. Some graduates are already in full-time church work; the majority is entering pastoral and deaconess ministry for the first time. What is my greatest desire for them as they march into their future? Anthony Thiselton tells that a “self-preoccupied church officer visited Charles Spurgeon, the great nineteenth-century preacher. On being told that Spurgeon could not see him yet, the church officer replied, ‘But tell Mr. Spurgeon that the Lord’s messenger awaits him.’ A maid returned to the door with the message, ‘I am sorry, sir, but Mr. Spurgeon says that he’s engaged with the Lord!’” (“1 Corinthians,” 32) Dear graduates, hang your diplomas on the wall, don’t puff yourself up because you have a title, but do be intense about your personal relationship with your Lord.
Please give humble thanks this weekend for all those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy and sometimes these days take too much for granted. Love is selfless sacrifice for others, and that is the special vocation of all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s been an academic year of hard work but of great blessing. My final word tomorrow evening will be “Thank You” to students, families, faculty, staff, and donors, as I officially close the 176th in Concordia Seminary’s history. That done, Diane and I will take about 10 days away from the Minute for rest and re-creation. Be safe, and like Spurgeon, be engaged with the Lord.