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Today I had the honor of receiving my Masters Degree in Entrepreneurial Ministry and Leadership from Tabor College. It was a special day for me personally and many others as well. I was given a chance to offer my reflections to those in attendance and below our some of excerpts from the speech.
Graduates, I want to start by taking a minute to recognize your achievements.
Today is a wonderful milestone in your life. Today, everyone who loves you is here to celebrate your achievement. Today, the eyes of all of your family and friends are on you.
Many of you have overcome great adversity to be here. Your hard work and determination has earned you a college degree. You have each sacrificed something, maybe many things, to get where you are today and you should be proud of yourselves. Congratulations!
To commemorate this moment, I want you to do something with me. Please take out your cell phone, go ahead you have my permission. (Pause) Now please, take a selfie; smile real big and capture this moment. (Pause) Alright, while we are at it, indulge me a bit further by taking a groupie with me, I think that is what they call it. (Use Selfie Stick).
Thanks for that memory and don’t forget to tag me.
Selfies are an interesting thing. When we take a selfie we are 100% focused on us and probably some really great quality about us or our lives. Today, the selfie you just took is focusing on your newest title as a graduate. Society teaches us that success is defined by merits such as these and that our value and impact is measured by our achievements, goals reached, and time in the spotlight, but through my faith-based experiences and education at Tabor College in both my under-graduate and graduate studies, my eyes have been opened to a deeper, more impactful reality: often, our most note-worthy contributions to society and God’s Kingdom happen in small, unnoticed, daily acts of selflessness as we use our gifts and our training to serve those around us. Contrary to the rules of this world, my Tabor educators have emphasized the upside-down Kingdom-rules of Jesus, stressing that it is, in fact, the act of turning our attention away from ourselves and onto others, seeing needs and meeting them, and being “more concerned with others than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3), that we do the greatest good.
These two years in the graduate program at Tabor Wichita have deepened my understanding of this truth: Every person present here today has something unique and significant to offer society—something truly selfie-worthy—but we must learn to live in the balanced tension of assuredness and selflessness so that we may use these gifts to positively impact the world.
- On one end of the tight rope is assuredness. We have all invested time, energy, and money into earning these degrees. We have done this for the sake of learning, for the sake of being equipped, and for the sake of ‘going somewhere’ and ‘doing something’. We have chosen paths that match our passions and line-up with our callings so that we are better prepared to go out into the world and do the things we have dreamed of doing.
- Over and over again during my graduate program this phrase was repeated: see a need, meet the need. In our confidence and assuredness of having something to offer the world, we must be humble enough, secure enough, and generous enough to give that gift away for the sake of meeting a need.
Through this program I have learned to both turn the camera inward for self-awareness and understanding of my gifts, talents, and passions, as well as turning the camera outward and seeing a need in this world that I am equipped to meet.
To listen to my speech click here: Tabor College 2016 Commencement (go to the 36:50 mark).