For many, graduation is here. High schools and colleges across the country are preparing for their commencement ceremonies. There are excited young people all across our country who have taken their last exam, sat in their last high school or college class, and are now saying goodbye to friends.
Even though we often treat commencement as the end of an academic journey, that is not what the word commencement actually means. The word commencement is actually derived from a 13th century French word meaning beginning or start. You see, commencement isn't the celebration of an ending it's the celebration of a new beginning. As students, when you commence, you actually begin a new chapter in your life. The focus is on the future not on the past.
As graduates you will have many more commencements in your life... many starts and beginnings. Most of you will begin new marriages, many will start a new period in your lives with children, and you will certainly commence with new jobs. Life is about these new beginnings and about experiencing change.
As you think about your future, let me encourage you to also commence with your relationship with God. As you leave school, this is a great time to either begin a relationship with God or commit to making your current relationship even stronger and richer.
You are all about to go into the world to make a difference. The world needs intelligent, energetic, Christian leaders that are willing to work to make a positive difference in this world. As you lead, follow scripture and make your decisions based upon Biblical concepts. Napoleon once said this:
"Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide."
As you commence, follow scriptural truths and your decisions will be sound. You will develop greater wisdom, and others will look to you for direction. If you say you are a follower of Christ than be one and lead. The world needs you!
All of us at Toccoa Falls College wish you the greatest success as you begin a new stage in your life. Happy commencement!