Finishing Takes More Than "Intention"
Graduation season is here.
A few years ago I had the privilege to offer a prayer at my son's high school baccalaureate service. (I am thankful that the students of his class at a public school go out of their way to sponsor and plan this event.) I really felt it was a great honor and responsibility.
I am quite aware that these services can be religiously 'all inclusive.' It was my desire, in the short amount of time that I had, to make a statement for what I believe in through what I said and what I prayed.
Here is what I said:
You might not have known it when you started first grade but someone set you on a path that they wanted you to finish. In just a few shorts days this journey will be over. Someone got you started but in the end it was your decision, to continue to get you to this destination.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths."
Did you notice that in this scripture there is an implication of going somewhere…"make straight your paths?" Andy Stanley uses this phrase in one of his books: Direction, not intention Determines Destination.
You are about to make it to this destination and soon you will be starting toward the next. No matter what you have determined is the next destination, you have a much surer and greater potential when we set the direction according to God's understanding.
I am glad God is smarter than I am. Looking back over my life I just wish I had looked to Him 'first' more often, trusting in his wisdom 'first.'Looking to Him to set the direction.
I want to challenge you to think now about your next destination: college, job, armed services…whatever you have chosen and remind you that just intention to arrive or accomplish will not get you there. It will take steps directed toward the destination to arrive.
Proverbs 16:2-3 says: "All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established"
When we follow these words of wisdom, no matter the destination, we fulfill the greatest, the only true purpose for our lives…to Glorify God. When we allow God to establish our direction we can stand on this promise from the book of Joshua: "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Almighty God…there is none like You.
You created the heavens and the earth.
You alone are God.
We know you love us as demonstrated through the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
We know you give grace because of your willingness to forgive us of our sins.
We know you are a God of justice who is fair and will deal with man justly whether we have surrendered to Christ as Lord or not.
Thank you for being…Almighty God…there is none like You.
For these students today Lord, I pray that you will give them a hunger and a passion to know You and trust in You for direction.
O God, give them wisdom to allow you to determine their destinations, when that happens we know You will be glorified.
O God protect these students and give them strength to stand strong against the things that will harm them.
Above all I pray that those who have committed their lives to You will grow strong in their faith.
And for those who have not committed their lives to You…put someone or something in their life that will help them see you in all Your glory and splendor.
Lord…we thank you for getting these young adults this far, for protecting them and instructing them.
Help them enjoy this week, this destination, and help them create moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
For who You are and what You demonstrate to us…we give thanks.
We pray all these things in the name that is above every name…Jesus Christ…AMEN.