Good Morning Pioneer Baptist!
“Jerry, now you’ve got to go to work!”
Those were the words meted out to me by Dr. Lincoln “Mac” Sennett as he shook hands with me and handed me my diploma on June 2,1967. I was a 21-year-old, graduating from what is now the University of Maine at Machias, and ready to begin teaching in Maine’s public school system.
College had been its own version of work, but there was also basketball, buddies, and social outlets aplenty. We were all (at least most of us) young then, and college was a time of preparation, a time of studying, a time of learning, and yes, a time of fun and coming of age. And now, as President Mac Sennett correctly observed, it was time to go to work. So off we went up the road ahead.
Graduations! Ceremonies, pictures, and keynote speakers urging us on. Baccalaureate (which we didn’t have at college but did at high school) is defined by my friend dictionary.com as “a religious service held at an educational institution, usually on the Sunday before commencement day.” But another friend, the Original Buzz Mitchell told me it was when the speaker told you to take your diploma and go out and shake it in the face of the world. (You may pick the definition you like better.) Graduations from kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school, and so on. They are times of wrapping up and they are times of beginning, and we celebrate them. It’s time to go to work!
Then there are graduations from this life to the next. For the Christian “It’s time to go to rest.” We’ve had our chance to work for the LORD Jesus Christ, and now, with our bodies, exhausted or beaten by disease or accident, we move on. For sure it’s the very best of graduations, with tears accompanying on this side and joy eternal on the other side. No matter the graduation, it’s a time of change and moving up. We take our diplomas here and go to work, we take the diploma of our Salvation and go to rest.
One of the clichés bandied about in our world is “RIP” (rest in peace). The only lasting peace is in the Prince of Peace, the LORD Jesus Christ, and the only graduation that doesn’t involve Mac Sennett’s admonition to go to work is when we move on and up to be with Christ. Graduations mean work completed, and Jesus completed all of the work for us. All we have to do is accept Him, and get our B.A. degree.
Yes, that’s your Born Again degree. Don’t leave baccalaureate without it!
Love to all,