Graduations are such an exciting time of celebration and accomplishment.
They represent scores of hours of study, sacrifice, and perseverance by the graduate. The diploma, degree, or license received at graduation also establishes an increased value of the graduate in the marketplace or ministry he or she is pursuing.
I have experienced a few significant graduation moments myself and witnessed the graduations of many other close family members and friends.
From this vantage point I would like to offer the following advice to 2015 graduates that will help you achieve success:
- Stay teachable – I can learn from anyone. I like the quote from author and statesman Will Rogers: “We are all ignorant; just on different subjects.” That is so true. Your diploma or degree confirms to all you have increased in knowledge. Just don’t let your increased knowledge go to your head. Knowledge alone puffs up (I Cor. 8:1). Always remember, “You can never bless those you are trying to impress with your knowledge.” The humble are teachable and God continues to give grace to the humble.
- Guard your intimacy with the Lord – It is so easy in our performance driven culture to become immersed in activity and work in attempt to prove yourself in the marketplace. Yet Jesus said the real key to fruitfulness and sustained success is abiding in Him (Jn. 15:5). I call it “staying present to the Lord.” We know He is present with us at all times. The question is, are we present to Him? Jesus called His disciples first of all to be with Him, then to go out and do His works (Mk. 3:14). Your success hinges on making His presence a priority in your life.
- Get involved serving – In the marketplace, community and local church. Serve others without expectation from men. Look to God and not men for recognition, appreciation, compensation, and promotion. If we are serving for the purpose of receiving these benefits, who are we really serving? Take on the attitude you are not too good to do anything. I look for people like this who are not demanding to promote. This is the key to greatness in the kingdom (Mat. 20:26).
- Find your sweet spot – I am speaking here of the area of your greatest strengths and talents. Too many times we attempt to shore up our weaknesses instead of magnifying our strengths. The greatest value you can bring to any organization is giving the majority of your time and effort to your strongest gifts and talents. Paul told Timothy to meditate on these things and give himself entirely to that (I Tim. 4:14-15). Your weaknesses in gifting are someone else’s opportunities. When you find a career or position that allows you to use and focus on your gifts you will find true fulfillment. That’s where you will soar.