Graduation thoughts

The graduation announcements are arriving daily.  This is a great time of year.  I feel happy, nostalgic, anticipatory, sentimental, and scores of other emotions. Graduations are tremendous times, laudable accomplishments. Graduation - decisions to be made, options to be considered, paths to take.  High school.  College.  Graduate school.   I am easily transported back to those defining moments of my own.  I recall feeling excited.  Relieved.  Scared and confident simultaneously.  Looking back, I realize how much I didn't know to think about. I didn't even know enough to be intimidated by those incredible folks that had it all together and had mapped out their course for the next 25 years. From this vantage point, I shake my head at my naïve approach to life....amazing that life has turned out so well because I lacked the ability and/or sophistication to plan for greatness or to purpose for success. 

I just took my diploma and smiled.

Today I'm thinking about how generous and gracious God has been to me.  How He's shown me favor and kindness through the years.  Of course there have been heartaches and disappointments and pain but the over-arching theme of my life has been blessing, the goodness of God. In spite of my lack of a great plan, in the absence of reaching for the stars, God has seen fit to shower me with grace.  Peace and love and joy and, yes, even much of what the world would define as success.

I have to ponder why.  Plenty of folks are more gifted.  Had better plans and ideas and dreams.  Why has God chosen to pour out His goodness on me and mine?

I don't know that I have a definite answer.  I do know that I don't deserve one bit of what He's done for me.  But as I was thinking this over and all that graduation means, I wanted to have some advice to offer.  I wanted to glean some nuggets of exhortation, some life lessons, some tips for success from my own experience.

Here's the verse God gave me

A faithful man will abound with blessings  Proverbs 28:20

BlessingsThat abound! That's what we all seek.  No one sets out to be a failure  - or even an "also ran".  Perhaps the key to success is in this verse...
Faithful.  I looked that word up in my Hebrew dictionary to better understand what God is conveying here.  "Emuwnah"  means firmness, steadiness, steadfastness, faithfulness, trust, honesty. 

Have I been perfect?  Absolutely not.  I have stumbled often.  I have missed some opportunities and have botched some others.  I have just plain messed up more times than I can even remember.  Yet God has been gracious to me.  He doesn't require perfection...but He does bless faithfulness.    Over and over and over, I just did the next thing.  I didn't have a 10 year plan to reach some ultimate goal but I just did the next thing.  And my heart was to strive to do it well, to be dependable and trustworthy and diligent and selfless. To honor God, to steward faithfully what He had given me, and to show His love to others. When I fell, I got back up and tried again.  Not for a long term plan....just for whatever I had in front of me right then.

A project at work.  A speech.  A mountain of laundry.  A Bible study.  A child to be potty trained.  A friend to comfort.  A meal to share.  Advice to seek.  A trip to enjoy.  A bill to be paid. A marriage to nurture. A child to guide. A floor to mop.  A party to give. A hug to extend. A financial blessing to bestow.   A graduation to attend.  A wedding to plan.  A grandbaby to rock.  By God's grace - faithfulness.  By God's grace, blessings that abound.

So, if you have some life left in front of you and you'd rather succeed than fail, my advice would be "Be faithful".  Make some plans if you have to, but focus instead on just being faithful with whatever is in front of you right now.  A faithful man (or woman) will abound with blessings.

That's what God says.  And He delivers.