At the Regents Academy Commencement Ceremony on May 27, 2016, our school chaplain, Pastor Randy Booth, delivered some closing remarks that are well worth reading and taking to heart. Here they are, with Pastor Booth’s closing prayer of blessing for the graduates below.
Well, we come now to close the door on another year of labor, love, tears and joys. I’ve watched this scene over and over for about thirty years. My three grown children all received classical Christian educations and now I have the joy of seeing my grandchildren follow in those paths we blazed. I’ve known several of tonight’s graduates their whole lives, and have witnessed the faithfulness of their families and teachers, year after year.
Like other routines, Christian education can become a wearisome task. It is, indeed, often hard to see the forest for the trees. Every day doesn’t seem to be a good day. Not every child is a motivated genius, and not every parent or teacher finds the work so easy and delightful. Those daily routines can be a grind and we can lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Sometimes we have never even thought about the fact that there is a forest—something bigger than this child or this week. And so, as we close this academic year, I want to remind you that this vision for this work of educating children transcends the year and even the individual child. You must look beyond the moment and see the hundreds of lives that will be touched by your seemingly obscure labor.
Why make the sacrifice—why spend the extra money and time—why do this hard work of educating our children? Well, we do it, as Dr. R. L. Dabney put it, because it “is the most important business done on earth.” We don’t do it because it’s easy; we do it because it’s important! It’s important because our lives and our futures depend on it.
God gives encouragement through His promises to parents:
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart ―Galatians 6:9
They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. ―Isaiah 65:22-23
Living in Christian circles, we sometimes lose sight of just how ugly the world really is and how desperate it is for answers. This should serve to highlight how important the work of Christian education really is. You are engaged in the most important and powerful work imaginable. Yes, most of it goes unseen and unappreciated, but we didn’t see, and we do not fully appreciate the millions of hours of faithful Christian service that have gone before us. Yet, the impact of that labor lives on. We are part of a great river that flows ever downward through history, and it matters what was up stream, and it matters what we contribute, for it will flow downstream for many generations. May the Lord bless your faithfulness in little things and may He fill your life with His abundant and often unimaginable blessings.
Heavenly Father, thank you for providing this Christian community full of family, friends and other supporters who have served and sacrificed, and continue to generously give of their time and resources to enable the important work of Regents Academy. We’re grateful for the parents, teachers, staff and board who daily give their dedicated labor of love to enable the young people of this school to receive a sound education which will prepare them to continue to learn and to serve You all the days of their lives.
This young woman and these young men stand here today having been instructed by their parents, families, teachers and churches in the way they should go, and now they’re about commence on that journey. We pray that You would go with them and govern them by Your Spirit, and that with genuine humility they would depend on Your Word, which is a lamp to their feet and a light to their path. May they surround themselves with wise counselors and remain conscious of their own ignorance and dependence upon You and other people. May they always seek first Your kingdom and never be drawn aside in any way by lessor pursuits.
As You direct the course of their lives, may Kyla, Aaron, Caleb, Luke, Jake and Will serve You with gladness and remain so fixed in Your truth so as to never turn aside from this high calling. And when the trials and storms of this life are before them, teach them to quickly flee to You and hide themselves under the shadow of Your wings with full confidence in Your wisdom and salvation. And no matter how disturbed the state of the world may be, may they never doubt Your goodness toward them and may they remember that You have always been their deliverer; and that they may therefore persevere in full confidence of Your grace and mercy.
And now, O Lord, may their eyes be so fixed on Jesus so as not go astray or be led here and there after wicked temptations and the allurements of this world: continuing firm in the obedience of faith and perseverance in it, until they are fully transformed into the image of Your eternal glory, which now in part shines in them, though the same Jesus Christ our Lord. We commit them now into Your mighty hand. Amen.