I have been in the audience of three graduations this month which is triple the number of graduations I usually attend a year. However, recently I attended the graduation at the seminary I attend, which was the most God-Centered graduation I have attended. I arrived at the graduation quite early so I didn’t see anyone I knew and could sit with so I sat on an empty back pew. The graduation began and desire arose in my heart to hasten myself to graduation. As I sat through the graduation I began thinking thoughts like “one day that will be me.” Thoughts came to mind of how I could overload myself with school and be done. However, when the Provost stood up he reminded the audience of the why the seminary exist. As a result of his speech, my heart began to ache because I forgot why I was in seminary. The Lord changed my thoughts through the speech of our Provost.
Sitting in this pew I began to have to wipe my eyes because I could no longer hold back my tears of heartache. I sat there and I reflected on why God called me to seminary. I thought about all my African-American brothers and sisters who are prey to the wolves of this world. I thought about those who are in need mental health professionals but are given the label of “bad.” I thought about those whose theology is too small to handle the big questions of life. I remembered people I have met who have heard about a Jesus too weak to rescue a sinner such as them. God has called me to seminary so that I can be one more soldier who is equipped to stand in the gap for them. He called me to seminary so his glory will be known and I may have more avenues to share the wonderful news of the gospel. As I reflected on my mission I thought of Paul and what he said to the Roman church in Romans 15:20:
and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, (ESV)
Paul knew his mission and it is what drove him. Paul was willing and did give it all for his mission given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s mission-mindedness led him to say this in the book of Acts:
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24 ESV)
Paul’s goal was to complete the mission that God had given him. He was concerned about the message of the gospel getting to hopeless sinners who desperately need Jesus. He saw nothing as too much to give to the spreading of the gospel. He was not concerned about the time it took or where the resources would come from. Paul’s focus was dedicated to the obedience to God in the tasks he has given him.
Honestly, I feel sometimes the road to the goal is so long. Several times have I asked myself, “does God really want me to stay here?” In addition, I ponder the question “what if I just quit now?” However, when I go to class God lets me know he doesn’t want me anywhere else. When I think about how much God has provided for me here then I know he wants me to stay here. If you are like me sometimes you lose focus, but I think reflecting on why God has you in a particular place such as school, work, or etc. is beneficial. Let us not forget the mission and let us run with endurance to complete the mission God has given us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrew 12:1 ESV)