This time of the year finds us celebrating graduations. People are closing a chapter on something accomplished and opening a new one. They are filled with a sense of accomplishment. They also are filled with a sense of excitement about what the future holds. Where are we on this road? Have we accomplished all there is to accomplish? Are we reaching and striving to grow and expand our world? Greetings, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Commencement speeches have a few things in common. They congratulate you for a job well done. They encourage you to spread your wings and fly. They remind you to remember all those who supported, taught and helped you get to the day of graduation.

We need to know three things in life; where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going. We never should lose sight of what it took to get us where we are. We also should not limit ourselves to only what we can see and understand. There are so many things in life that God has for us and if we limit ourselves, we will miss out on those blessings.

Racing has a ladder of sorts also. You start at the local track in the entry-level division. You learn the ropes, gain some experience. When you have a handle on that you move up in class. If the championships come you may have the opportunity to move up to a regional touring division and then to a national division. Unfortunately in racing, talent isn’t the only thing required to make that progression. We need the resources also.

I can think of several drivers who have the talent to run any car anywhere and do well, problem is they don’t have the financial backing. There is however the rare case that someone succeeds without the financial resources that open doors. This should not escape the attention of those drivers. It is truly a difficult task and everything has to fall in place.

When it happens the attitude should be one of humble appreciation. Sometimes we respond with a deserving arrogance. When that is the case the opportunity will be short lived. We need to remember that no matter what we attain in racing or life it cost someone something and for that we need to be appreciative and thankful.

I was thinking about the twelve men that Jesus taught and I wondered about their graduation. Now that was a hard course of study and I imagine that they were pretty apprehensive when the time came to receive their diplomas. There are a couple of passages of Scripture that come to mind; sort of the commencement speech from Jesus to the disciples. Scripture records in two places the final words Jesus spoke to his disciples;

MATTHEW 28:16-20, Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

ACTS 1:1-9, In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Jesus left the Apostles with the command that as they go through the world and live their lives they were to help others understand who He was, what He taught and how to follow Him. To do this they would receive the Holy Spirit to guide them. They needed to do this in Jerusalem, their home; Judea, their community; Samaria, places and people they didn’t like or care to be associated with and the ends of the earth. Jesus had all the authority in Heaven and earth to ask this. He also promised to be with them everywhere they went. Short, concise, to the point, Jesus didn’t mince any words when he conveyed to them what he expected. This was the beginning of what we call the Kingdom of God here on earth.

A couple of questions come to mind, what if they refused? What if they said the task was too big? What if they didn’t feel like it? What if they just decided it wasn’t worth the effort? We have the same decisions to make in our life.

Jesus taught the Apostles for three years, he performed many miracles, saved many lives, preached many sermons, filled the lives of countless people with hope and healing. Jesus wasn’t asking them to do something He hadn’t already done himself.

It is important where the commencement speech comes from. When it comes from someone who has been there, who has experience, who knows the challenges of the road ahead it makes a difference. It means the words are trustworthy. It means you can follow with the confidence; the speaker knows what they are talking about. They know the reward for the effort is worth whatever it cost to travel down the road. Jesus had been there, He gave everything he had, His life, for our benefit. He asked only that we do the same.

Paul writes in the Letter to the Ephesians that God has prepared a “to do” list for each of us and that when we accept His gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ He will be there with things for us to do.

EPHESIANS 2:8-10, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We need to accept the gift and set out on our journey through life, making disciples, doing the work of our Lord, showing people the blessings that God has for us if we would just submit to Him and let Him have control over our lives. The message comes from one who sits at the right hand of God. Will we respond and accept the challenge? Today is the day, now is the time, accept the gift God offers, ask Him to forgive you and let Him guide your footsteps along the path of life you have yet to live.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.