Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thoughts on graduation

When God led Moses and the nation of Israel out of Egypt, He set in motion the fulfillment of a promise made to Abraham more than five hundred years before – the promise of a land for His people.

When they arrived in that land, God gave them markers, both for boundaries and for memorials. Joshua had the elders of Israel build a marker at the point where they crossed over the Jordan, so that “when your sons ask in time to come ... you shall answer them, 'The waters of the Jordan were cut before the ark of the covenant of the Lord ... and these stones shall be for a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.'” (Joshua 4:6-7)

They were warned not to remove a neighbor's landmark, “which those in the past have set in your inheritance, which you shall inherit in the land which the Lord your God gives you to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 19:14)

Four hundred years later, Solomon counseled his son, “Do not remove the old landmark which your fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28;)

Tonight we celebrate a milestone. This is the end of an academic year, for most of you students, and the completion of high school studies for these graduates.

Landmarks are important, but landmarks are not the land. When God gave memorials and landmarks to the children of Israel, those were not the promise. The landmark is not the land, it is just a marker. The promise was not for a memorial – the memorial was for the promise. In the same way, a diploma is not the education. It simply represents the completion of part of the journey. It is a memorial of many years of study, of teaching, of learning, of plain hard work.

But as homeschoolers, we know that the diploma is not the goal. The goal is not preparing for tests, or completing time in classes, or collecting certificates. The goal of homeschooling is an education, and that is never complete until we receive it in heaven from our Lord, the one true Teacher of us all.

The Lord says, “Do not let the wise glory in his wisdom, nor let the mighty glory in his might; do not let the rich glory in his riches; but let him who glories, glory in this – that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, doing kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these I delight, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Because ultimately, our purpose in life is not in reaching milestones. Our purpose is to glorify God, in our study, in our instruction, in whatever work He calls us to do; and to live our lives in such a way as to enjoy Him, now and forever.

But along the way to forever, this is an important night. We have reached a milestone. God Himself gives us milestones so we can see our progress and reflect on His care and provision. This is better than a mountain top, because from mountain tops we always come down. From where we stand tonight, whether as graduate or continuing student, God calls us to continue upwards and onwards, to understand and know Him, and to enjoy Him forever!

These are remarks given at the Johnston County Home Educators graduation ceremony in June of this year. It's now time for December graduations so it's back in season again.

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