Flipping That Tassel: A Letter to the Class of 2018Jun 03, 2018 03:45PM ● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
Our oldest son graduates high school, along with close to 400 classmates. Maybe even in the rain. Outside. Oh, joy! It seems to culminate in this one night, but truthfully, the past few weeks have been nonstop events on our calendar: senior awards, senior scholarships, band banquet, language awards, induction ceremony, baccalaureate, etc. It was so hectic I found myself rescheduling medical appointments multiple times on the day of some of these events. Despite syncing Apple Calendar and setting a timer on my phone, I could not keep it all straight. That panicky feeling kept creeping in insisting that I was going to miss something important.
And then there it was: That maroon and white tassel with 2018 dangling off the end of it. And I completely flashed back to 1990. Rainy day just the same, almost three decades earlier. All the nerves of exiting one chapter and entering another one rattling around like a live wire inside me.
Only this time, in 2018, it was my firstborn.
This day was the end of many things, yes, but it was the beginning of a lifetime of choices, decisions, dreams, achieving, and sometimes falling, sometimes failing.
What? Why so negative? Not the most inspiring graduation message, Bonnie!
Oh, but it is! Because the road ahead has the opportunity to walk it with God. And while life this side of heaven still has hardship and trials, God is the God of promise. He is faithful.
The choice to put one foot in front of the other letting God lead is entirely up to my son.
An adventure awaits, and it can either include Immanuel, “God with us,” at his side as a constant Counselor—or not. It is up to him.
We cannot experience personal growth until we have been trusted with each step and been proven worthy. Each accomplishment on the path to commencement exercises leads to future schooling or a job. Performing those well leads to promotions or taking on more responsibility. This is true both personally and professionally.
Think of close friendships. When we have proven ourselves trustworthy and true in the small moments, we show ourselves capable of much more depth in the relationship.
And when God has taken us through all the steps of one chapter of life, and another chapter awaits us, wouldn’t it be so good to hear these words as He ushers us into the greater responsibilities ahead?
Matthew 25:23, ESV
His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
In the parable of the talents in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks of a servant who invested five talents for his master and returned with ten, doubling the investment. Notice that the master’s reply isn’t any of the following:
- You have achieved it all. Sit back and relax the rest of your life.
- You could have done better.
- You are ready to jump three steps ahead now. You have proven yourself.
See the correlation there?
“Well done” is spoken along the path of each next step. It’s not an excuse to stop growing and stretching. It isn’t one step.
Instead, it is:
1. Affirmation: Good job. You are good and faithful.
2. Encouragement: Keep going. Take the next challenging step.
3. Perspective: This was a little. You are ready for a little more.
4. Invitation: Enter into the joy of your master.
See, “well done” is said at each next step.
The Good News is that our Master is with us along the way, cheering us on, speaking truth about who we are, giving us courage to move forward, offering us perspective, and inviting us into His great pleasure at watching His creation function to achieve His purposes.
“Well done” is offered along the way of life’s path.
So, class of 2018, go forward in the promise of the “joy of your master.”
Like my son, the choice is up to you in this important crossroads in your life. You can invite God and have the ever-present help He promises; it is motivated by pure love because He created you for His purposes.
Psalm 46:1, ESV
the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Or, you can go it alone and miss the amazing blessing of “well done” and the “joy of your master.”
Graduation is a big event that culminates with some hats tossed into the air and tassels flipped to the other side of the mortarboard.
What will happen after you flip that tassel?
Each time we move on from a big accomplishment, we once again decide who is lord—us or God. I can’t make those decisions for my adult son any more than someone could have made them for me.
But I did choose with each step, and sometimes I got it wrong. Some days I tried to steer my own ship and got lost for a while.
After the excitement of the day fades and the future looks a bit intimidating, I encourage you to commit to seeking the joy of your Master, your Creator.
Aim for each next step that He directs so that at the end of this life’s journey, your race was well-run, and a crown of righteousness awaits you.
If you have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, He is with you, always, even to the end of the age.
Matthew 20:18-20, ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
If you haven’t accepted Him, I pray you know the great joy of asking Him into your life to run alongside you. Trust me when I say that God as your marathon partner is the very best life has to offer.
The very best!
2 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.