Class of 2017 congratulations on accomplishing one of the major early milestones of your life.
I want to encourage you to think for just a moment of the foundation that you were given here, the relationships you cultivated here, the stories you shared and adventures you have had, the virtues that you have practiced and have come to adore here - Iowa Park High, that is the administration and the teachers and the coaches, they have worked to aid in building you into capable young adults.
And for that you should be proud.
My name is Josh Fields and I am the student pastor at First Baptist Church here in Iowa Park.
You know 12 years ago I sat where you sit.
I walked down the 10% grade to “Pomp and Circumstance” with a smile on my face and dreams in my pockets.
And I can tell you with certainty that I don’t remember one word of what our guest speaker said - I couldn’t even tell you his name.
Which means this evening I’m going to use the KISS method.
Keep It Simple Stupid.
When I was an eleven year old boy I didn’t know how to receive a “no” from my mom.
I spent an entire week with my cousin at my house: fishing, hunting road runners, throwing rocks at toads, building a makeshift raft for the pond, you know boy stuff.
But when the week came to an end he had to go.
The next day I got a phone call and my cousins mom was taking them to the lake - my mom said no.
So I did what any 11 year old boy would do “please, mom, please!”
I thought you loved me!
Finally she caved and let me go.
On our way to the lake riding with my cousins family we were hit (t-boned) by a drunk driver at 70 mph.
He had run a stop sign.
I remember sitting in the ambulance that my mom picked me up in (she was a local nurse) and telling her “mom its going to be okay, God has a plan.
Don’t worry mom - Jesus has a purpose for my life.”
Transition: there is nothing like realizing our mortality, that we will die, that makes us think on the most important questions in life (what’s my purpose, what happens after death, whats wrong with me, how can it be fixed).
I believe graduation (to a lesser degree of course) stimulates this type of purposeful thinking.
So this evening let’s ask a question together.
A question that has been asked and pondered by men and women much smarter and more serious than we.
In fact this question was asked by the Westminster Divines in 1648 and recorded in Westminster Larger Catechism - it was their first and primary question.
And it was this:
Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
The question that I want to answer today - the question that I hope drives the course of your entire life student - is what is my highest purpose or goal in this life.
What is the highest end of man?
Is it money, sex, power, prestige, family, fun, hobbies, education, pleasure or social activism?
What is my chief end?
I believe the answer flows from the Word of God: Man’s chief and highest end (your chief and highest end graduate) is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
The answer flows from the God’s Word: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
This is what is most fundamental for you to live after - the aim in which you were created is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
(1) First, you are to glorify God.
In Paul tells us how we are to go about all things in our life:
To glorify God means to display or show off His value by the way you are completely satisfied in Him.
1 Corinthains 10:31
I think of a trip to Galveston that I took back six or seven years ago.
We were in a camper on the beach listening to Brian Regan - the dude is hilarious - we were laughing so hard we were crying.
There was one particular joke about him as kid in a spelling class being made a fool because he couldn’t get the concept of plural nouns.
That stuck with us.
So that has been a running joke in our family for years.
Fast-forward to last fall.
Katie, my wife and I, are at the Wichita Mountains with a group of teens talking about God’s vision for our purity and we drive by a group of Buffalo - and one of our students asked what you call a group of Buffalo - and my wife said - Buffali.
And the student was convinced.
I think I have a scar on my bottom lip from biting it so hard to keep from laughing.
Transition: so why share that story?
Well, that’s what it looks like to be satisfied in something and display its greatness.
Years later my wife and I are still echoing the greatness of Brian Regan’s joke.
So when think of why we were created - we were created to display the greatness of God by our satisfaction in Him.
So, glorifying God in your living, in your career pursuits, in your relationships, in this transition period of your life means living in such a way that God’s excellence and greatness is displayed so people can see and enjoyed.
So, if you want your life to matter - live after God’s glory.
But living after His glory is not a burden:
(2) Secondly, we are to enjoy God forever.
Look: we all seek happiness; everything that you do - from brushing (or not) your teeth to studying for a Spanish Exam is done because you want to be happy.
We plan our entire future in such a way that we maximize our personal happiness.
But what if I were to tell you that all the happiness, all the longings, and all the deepest joys of your life are found in a relationship with Christ?
That’s what is about - full joy, pleasure forevermore is found in the presence of God, not in our human pursuits.
You know most people don’t really think of God as someone who can be enjoyed because they think He is some eternal killjoy or something.
Like God wants us to be miserable - he is the proverbial boy with a magnifying glass on a hot day and we are his ants.
I’ve always been a romantic (not necessarily romantic) but had romantic thoughts about love and marriage – not as much now as when I was in college – but I remember I would get on a bus and ride over to the campus (Texas Tech) everyday (that I went to school) and I would see girls on the bus and wonder if, perhaps, that was God’s person for me.
Seriously, I would see some brunette or blond and wonder – maybe?
And in those moments God was not like here is his future spouse, let’s put her right beside him, but let’s have the bus hit a bump so that Josh spills coffee on her and she gets up upset and they never get a chance to talk! Hahahahahaha!
God is not trying to ruin your life.
I love how John Piper puts it he says, “God is not a killjoy; He just opposes what kills joy.”
Graduates sin will always kill joy in God.
Sin is spiritual cancer that has one cure - Jesus Christ.
See the world we live in and the culture that you are apart of and are going out to shape believes highly in the virtue of a “Build a Bear God.”
I think I’ll take a God who is loving, but not too intrusive, who is compassionate, but doesn’t have too high a standard, who is inclusive of all, who, who, who and each person is building their own God after their own image who has absolutely no power because “Build a Bear God” isn’t real.
That mentality “build a bear God” is a killjoy.
The bible calls it idolatry.
But Jesus gives us the better way.
In Jesus makes a claim that everyone has to deal with:
Graduate if you want your life to matter, if you want the things that you do to align with the great purpose of your life then they will only be rightly organized and sorted by faith in Jesus Christ.
CS Lewis once said that we have only three options with Jesus: call him a liar on the level of the devil from hell, call him a lunatic that needs to be thrown in an insane asylum or fall at his feet and call him Lord.
Jesus didn’t leave room for us to call him a good teacher - He didn’t intend too.
One day soon students many of you will be starting your dream jobs, with a family, making good money, going on great vacations, but if you are out of line with your purpose - none of that will echo into eternity - none of those things will last.
See glorifying God and enjoying Him forever through Christ looks like what Albert Einstein once said, “do the little things (like showing appreciation to those who helped you to this point, praying for a friend, studying hard, showing up to work on time, choosing to get up on Sunday morning to worship God, saying “no” to killjoy sins)…do the little things like they are great and wonderful things.”
Because they are.
God desires that you find your greatest joy in Him and thus glorify Him in the process - this is your great aim.
This is what will make all that you do in this life matter.
Graduate you will seek your happiness and fail to find it if you look for it in anything (career, family, pleasure, power, prestige, money) anything other than Christ.
So graduates one last test:
What is the chief and highest end of man?
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
I can’t hear you.
This is a test you do not want to fail:
What is the chief and highest end of man?
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
If you get this one right and live after it - you get it all right.
One last word - we are a society who
Comment: "Glorify" does not mean make glorious.
It means [to] reflect or display as glorious.
Other words you could use for "end" are "goal" or "purpose".