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My Love Letter to the Graduating Class of 2016

May 2, 2016

imageIt is 6:20 in the morning and I am sitting in my classroom, number 181, the same good ol’ classroom I’ve used for years.  You know this classroom site well, my friend.  You’ve come in numerous times and joined me for Psychology, New Testament Survey, and a bit of Koine Greek.  In the mornings you’ve even stopped by and snatched a coffee from my coffee machine.  And a doughnut.  It’s been a nice routine.

But now that routine’s going to change drastically in the next few months, isn’t it?

You’re walking across the threshold into a whole new realm.  It isn’t quite as drastic as the doorway that John the Seer entered in the fourth chapter of Revelation in order to visit Heaven, but yours is a whole new horizon nevertheless.

And it will be wonderful.

Simply wonderful.

So I’m here, standing on the campus, waving good-bye, excited to hear about your future years.  It has been an honor to have had the opportunity to teach you.  It’s gratifying all the way through my spiritual DNA, friend.  I was born to teach, and few things in life satisfy me more than seeing a great student move onward and upward, which you’re about to do. You have been a great student.  You have questioned me, even debated with me.  You’ve failed a quiz only to come back and ace the next one.  When you’ve wavered in your grades you earned extra credit to get back on track.  You’re not a quitter, and I love you for that.

How well I remember more than one story from your class of those who have strengthened their church youth group by taking leadership roles and exploring the deeper things of God.  You’re already taking a part in making history.

With the little time I have left, just let me leave you with one thought… and it deals with time.  May I tell you something about time?

It truly does fly.

Your new-found freedom will result in your brain encountering a whole new frontier of decision-making, experience-encountering, and consequence-enduring.  Your head will be spinning from the challenges that you – and you alone – will face.   You’ll be constantly expanding and maturing at such a rapid pace that you’ll turn like the many generations before you and say:  “Where did the time go?”

Paul told the Ephesian Christians to “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time.”  Two weeks ago, I stood at the bedside of one of my dear spiritual mentors, watching his life ebb out of him slowly as Parkinson’s Disease wreaked havoc on his poor 80 year-old body.  Within 48 hours of my visit,  Mr. Kliewer went on to be with the Lord.  He’s in a place where time has a whole new essence, but I couldn’t help thinking of how fast the years went.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was receiving counsel from him at his kitchen table?  No, that was thirty years ago.

Time moves swiftly on this globe, dear grad.  Make the best use of it for our Lord.   The Reward Seat of Heaven is readying your trophies.

You’ll face new tasks, burdens, responsibilities and disciplines.  You’ll be spending and saving. You’ll be hired and fired.  You’ll make friends and some enemies. Chances are you’ll be a victim of identity theft or a robbery.  Even higher are the odds of you having a car wreck.  You’ll move at least two times, and possibly as many as a dozen times.  You’ll face sickness or maybe an injury.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

I cannot honestly pray that God keeps you from these; that wouldn’t be logical.  I can, however, pray for the Philippians 4:7 peace of God that nobody can explain but all Believers can enjoy.  God gives it in the midst of the greatest trials, so that you will fully know Who it is that is in charge and Who gives the greatest comfort. And, oh my, that peace is grand.

Okay, now, my time is gone.  I’m going to go back into the Pit Area and let you get on the Race Track.  Rev up your engines, friend.  I’ve seen the horsepower in your engine.  You’re good to go.  The Fuel and Power you’ve added will get you around the track as a winner.  Stop into the Pit now and again and let me know how your race is going.

Ecclesiastes 3: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  This is your time, and you look beautiful.  Time to go and step out on that stage.  I am so proud of you.

I love you, dear friend.

And before I get emotional (Don’t I start crying every year?  Yeah.) I’m going to sign off.

Remember this, old friend, as we wave good-bye.
The Lord Jesus loves you, and so do I.


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One Comment
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Hey Doctor Zockoll,
    I’ll keep this anonymous to keep you on your feet. I’ve truly enjoyed seeing you around the halls of GCA the past few years. You always care to know about what’s happening in my life and I appreciate it. You want to strengthen us in ways modern society wants to snatch away from us to keep us from growing. I’ll remember many of the great times with you as my teacher, mentor, and even friend. I’m truly grateful. Keep doing your thing and I cannot express my gratitude for the type of friendliness and openness you have given me.
    A 2016 Graduate

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