I read with interest the commencement address given by Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to more than 270 graduates from that institution. It was a powerful challenge to go into the world not merely to make a difference in this world, but also in the world to come.
As he addressed the graduating class he reminded them that they were being sent out to do what God has called and gifted and empowered them to do – to teach and preach the Word of God, to shepherd the flock of God, to guard the good deposit and to follow the pattern of sound words, to herald the good tidings of the Gospel, to teach the church, to counsel believers, to reach the unreached and to comfort the afflicted. They are set forth to defend the truth, to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, to mourn with those who mourn, and to minister in Christ’s name and stead.
What Dr. Mohler said to his graduates should be true, not just of them, but of every believer. You may not have been called to shepherd the flock of God as a pastor, or stand in front of a congregation to teach and preach, but we have all been called to preach the Word of God with our lives; we have all been called to guard the truth; we have all been called to follow the teachings of scripture; we have all been called to share the Gospel; and we have all been called to comfort the afflicted and mourn with those who mourn. In short we have all been called to minister the grace of God in Christ’s name and as His surrogates.
That thought brought me to Hebrews 11. One of the things that we often miss about this great chapter in the Bible is the Others. We all know about Enoch and Noah and Abraham, Sarah and Isaac. We’re familiar with Jacob and Joseph and Moses. And we know that we aren’t worthy to carry their bags. But what about the Others that the writer mentions? Those unnamed, anonymous followers of God who lived by faith even though they faced mocking and scourging, yes, and of chains and imprisonments. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with sword; They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:36-38). They were just ordinary people – people like you and me. But people who knew what it meant to live by faith.
As followers of Christ you stand in the line of the Others of Hebrews 11. You have been called to take up the torch, to carry the light. It is an awesome heritage and responsibility that has been left to you. God is not looking for the next Billy Graham; He’s looking for ordinary people, the Others, who will live with courageous faith. He’s looking for people of whom He can say the world was not worthy of them. You have been sent out not merely to make a difference in this world, but also in the world to come.
To again quote Dr. Mohler, can you imagine a Christian who is not moved and motivated by such a vision?
Stay in the Word