I have not been asked to deliver a commencement address this year, but if I were, here is what I would say. You might share this with your graduate.
Wise decisions. You graduates here today have obviously made some very wise decisions already, decisions that have brought you to this day of accomplishment. Congratulations.
But as you now go forward in your life, you will be making many more decisions, and some will be the most important of your whole life. In fact, some decisions still to come will even determine the outcome of your life, and whether your life will be well lived or poorly lived.
Wise decisions. This topic is certainly not new. All the way back into the Old Testament of the Bible, Solomon wanted to help his people make wise decisions so, with God’s divine inspiration, he wrote his “Proverbs,” his “wise sayings,” in order to lead and guide his people to make wise decisions.
He introduced these “Proverbs” this way (using “The Message Bible”).
“1. These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David’s son, Israel’s king —
“2. Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where its going;
“3. A manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair;
“4. To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality…
“7. Start with God.”
With this as our background, I want to propose to you that in order for you to make future wise decisions, you use what I call “The Six Best Questions for Making Wise Decisions.” These are not my original composition, but I learned them somewhere along my life’s path, and I believe you will be well served as you consider them today, and hopefully put them into practice as your life unfolds. And don’t worry, there is a handout for you, so if you don’t memorize them right now, you’ll still be able to recall them later.
Question number one is “The Goodness Question.” The decision I am about to make, will this decision result in goodness rather than evil or harm?
“Well, duh?” you might say. But always start with this basic question. Of course, in order to make a judgment about whether something will render good or evil, you must first have the knowledge base of what is good and what is evil. Is there an absolute good and absolute evil? Yes, of course. And how do you know that? Ultimately that comes from God and His Truth as told in The Bible.
Question number two is “The Justice Question.” Is my decision fair? Is my decision taking advantage of someone? Are God’s laws which protect the weak and poor being violated? No decision is ever made in isolation. Every decision we make has a “domino effect” on everyone around us. No decision that hurts, harms, or adversely affects those around you is a wise decision. Wise decisions lift and bless others as well.
Question number three is “The Openness Question.” I love this one. It makes so much sense. Can I openly share my decision with my pastor, my Christian friends, my parents, my children? “Hello, Dad. I just called to let you know that I’ve decided to go out drinking and driving tonight.” Not! “Hello, Pastor. I just called to tell you I’ve decided to marry an atheist and join a gang.” Not! The thought of that one phone call could prevent a lot of unwise decisions.
Question number four is “The Whole World Question.” This is one you may not think of very often, but you should. If everyone else in the whole world made the same decision I am about to make, would I like to live in that kind of world? Project your decision onto the whole world, and then ask yourself if that would make a really nice place to live. This, too, would cut down on a whole lot of unwise decisions.
Question number five is “The Bible Question.” We touched on this in the first question, but it bears repeating. Is my decision in line with what the Bible teaches? Read The Proverbs of Solomon. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Read 1st and 2nd Corinthians. Chances are pretty good that your decision is addressed verbatim somewhere in the Bible. If not verbatim, most probably through interpretation.
Question number six is “The Jesus Question.” This was quite popular a few years ago with the “WWJD” bracelets. “What would Jesus do?” Is my decision what He would do? If Jesus suddenly appeared, would He be pleased with what I am doing? And don’t forget “HCYDWJWDUYKWJD.” What? “How can you do what Jesus would do, unless you know what Jesus did?” There’s that “Bible Thing” again.
Wise decisions. What keys to happiness! What keys to success! What keys to the future you seek! Wise decisions have brought you to this day of your graduation. Wise decisions will now give you what you want — a life well lived! Amen!
Find Kollmeyer and Register for VBS, June 12-16, at www.princeofpeacefayette.org