Just before the final exam in a college finance class, a less-than-stellar student approached the professor and asked, “Can you tell me what grade I would need to get on the exam to pass the course?” The prof jokingly gave him the bad news, “The exam is worth 100 points. You would need 113 points to earn a ‘D’ in the course.” “Okay,” said the student. “And how many points would I need to get a ‘C’?”
Yup, it’s graduation time again! Fifty years ago this year at my High School graduation I walked off the stage with a rolled-up piece of paper still dumb as a rock and naive as a puppy. I guess I make it sound worse than it really was because as far as being able to look after myself and already knowing what work was all about, I considered myself light-years ahead of some of my fellow classmates. I did get in some trade-school time and landed a great job, just before Uncle Sam decided to uproot me from my parental flowerbox to show me some new scenery and change my career. That’s when one gets to meet the rest of the world, and like being plunged into ice-cold water, the culture shock is intense. Now is the time when the books are set aside and survival mode has to kick in. The real you comes to the surface and one has to begin paying for their own mistakes of which I still make plenty of. I really can’t complain about much these past fifty years. The disciplines of my youth have kept my civil records clean and my God-given talents have earned me a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in the fridge. I have a good, loving wife, without whom I would be destitute, and a great, loving God, without whom I would be lost. I try my best to keep life simple and look forward to life eternal.
A poor memory has plagued me throughout life and have found solace in this unknown author’s “Memory System”: Forget each kindness that you do as soon as you have done it; Forget the praise that falls to you the moment you have won it; Forget the slander that you hear before you repeat it; Forget each slight, each spite, each sneer, where-ever you may meet it. Remember every kindness done to you, whatever its measure; Remember the praise by others won, and pass it on with pleasure; Remember every promise made and keep it to the letter; Remember those who lend you aid and be a grateful debtor; Remember all the happiness that comes your way in living; Forget each worry and distress, be hopeful and forgiving; Remember good, remember truth, remember heaven’s above you, and you’ll find, through age and youth, that many hearts will love you.
[Ecclesiastes 12:12-14] At the end of Solomon’s teaching he writes: “...Of making books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” The famous American thinker and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.” Thankfully, the Bible gives us all the instruction we need to know what to do with our time. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17). “...live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:2-4). Graduation Day is coming.