Ben Noble, Class of '14
As I was preparing to write my speech, I couldn't help but look back on the past eighteen years of my life and think "how did I get here?" And as I thought more and more about it, I came to the conclusion that I could say I only had a small part in getting myself here today.
DON'T GET ME WRONG, we as a class have put in a lot of hard work and effort throughout our time here, but where would we be without our teachers…our parents…our coaches…our youth pastors?
Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
When I read that…I think…we're all products of the time and love that others have poured into us. And despite everything that has influenced us over the years and played a part in getting us here today, the most important thing is the God and people who have instructed and guided us all this time.
As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate more and more the sacrifices that others have made for me. And it makes me feel this sort of charge to do the same for others when I get the chance one day, sort of like the way we love others because Christ loved us first.
And I think the reason that there's a good comparison between these two things…is because they're directly related. The way that our mentors have invested their lives into us is a reflection of the love that Jesus showed all of us on the cross.
Although not equal in magnitude, yet similar in nature, the love displayed for us by our elders beckons us to pay forward it foward, much in the same way that God's love transforms us and convicts us to strive to love others in the same manner, selflessly.
So after examining this, it brings me to a conclusion that I think is a key theme of the Bible…and that's that a life spent in service to others is the most meaningful. And it's not the man who has a six-figure salary, no debt and a sports car in the garage who is truly successful. Rather it's the woman who lives in a small apartment, drives a clunker, and struggles financially; yet despite her financial difficulties, still manages to find the time to visit her neighbor every night who is depressed and searching for truth.
Because in the end, the most important thing on Earth is people. And while it may be fun to spend money on new clothes and fast cars, it's more meaningful to spend time on others. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
So…Class of 2014, what are you going to do? What are you going to build your life on? Selfishness? Or Service? Just remember, if others in your life had lived for themselves, where would you be today?
Don't forget the impact that others have had on you, because now…it's our turn to make an impact.
So I'll leave you with this: As you look to the past and the effects of others on your life, also look forward and think of how you will impact someone else's future.