I congratulate you, the 2017-18 UCBC graduating class, for four years of hard work and remarkable achievement. During your time at UCBC, you have heard me say, “Only the best is good for the Lord.” Together, we have sought to be and do our best. Today, your graduation is the culmination of God’s grace coupled with our collective commitment to provide the best education possible in the difficult context of our country. As you embark in life away from your beloved UCBC community, I urge you: be your best wherever you go and whatever you do even when times are difficult.
But what does it mean to be your best?
First, find your Destiny.
You cannot afford to miss the real purpose of your life on earth. You were fearfully and uniquely created by God to make a difference in the world whatever small that might be. Your destiny is God’s purpose in and for your life. You must constantly ask yourself the most basic question, “Why am I here on earth? What is the purpose of my life?”
In his trial, Nelson Mandela explained his destiny in clear and simple words:
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Jesus Christ understood the purpose of his life on earth and expressed it unequivocally in these terms:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18, 19)
Dear graduates, don’t just look for jobs; discover yourself; find your life purpose; uncover your life calling; learn to use your talents, abilities and passions; fulfill your destiny. You will have peace of mind, joy and desire to succeed when you discover God’s calling in your life. You are at your best when you make other people’s lives a little bit better.
Second, be dedicated to your Destiny.
Dedication is the commitment, enthusiasm and perseverance to achieve whatever is set before you. It is a personal decision “to spend all your time on and put all your efforts into one particular thing.” Dedication is the common mark of great men and women in the Bible and in history whose lives have been used to change ours.
Mandela stated, “I have dedicated myself for this struggle of the African people.” Eventually, he spent 27 years in prison, served as the first black president of South Africa and changed South Africa into a rainbow and prosperous nation. The Apostle Paul urges Christians to have the attitude of Christ, who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness… Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…” (Phil. 2).
I am not asking you to be perfect, but simply to be dedicated to your destiny. We habitually say that we will be committed but when things become difficult, we often and easily give up and quit. Again, I am not asking you to be perfect, but to be the best employee your organization expects you to be, the best son, daughter, husband, wife, brother, sister your family, community and church expects you to be. In Paul’s words,
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).
Third, put God first.
You must put God first because he is the source of your life destiny:
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you’” (Jeremiah 29: 11,12).
According to Jesus, God is not only the source of your destiny but also the power behind your success.
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
“If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7)
The quality, usefulness and success of your life will depend on your commitment and determination to be your best and do your best. Through our collective prayers and efforts, our nation will be transformed into a nation of justice and prosperity.