Five Life Lessons for Graduates and Those Who Love Them


By Rev. Patricia Dunbar
Pastor of Mt. Nebo UMC

It’s a shame that the finest insight for a well-lived life isn’t neatly packaged inside fortune cookies or neat little boxes. It seems graduate, that over the next few weeks, every friend, neighbor, relative, and unknown stranger is going to tell you what to do with your life. I thought that I would join with the masses and pass on a little life perspective of my own.
1.      1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
First of all – don’t fall into a trap thinking that your teenage years have been the best years of your life. Trust me – these years have not been the best years of your life! The best years of your life are still ahead of you. You have grown to be an adult, trapped in a young person's rules and now you will begin to find release. Look forward to the days ahead with anticipation, joy and excitement - the best is yet to be!
2.      Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
Pursue work that is meaningful and gives your life purpose. Friends, children, hobbies, and daily activities that fill your days will come and go but work will remain a constant through your lifetime. Work will help you get through the tough times when other things in your life aren't going too well. Discover work that creates a positive impact in your corner of the world and you will be blessed while doing it. One person can and does make a difference, be that one. Work hard for the sheer joy of it! And never let another person’s unhappiness, spite or mean attitude steal your joy.
3.      Song of Solomon - My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; (2:10)

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; (6:3)
Find someone exceptional to love. Wait for that one you will call “beloved”. While you wait, be careful not to give away parts of yourself to too many people, for when you do find that someone who is right for you, you won’t have anything left but an empty shell. The person you want to spend your life with should be your best friend, someone you can laugh with, cry with, and dream with. During a lifetime, this will be more important than you now appreciate.
4.      1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.”
This is simple - honor your elders and those in authority. This includes the people you love, like, or don’t even want to be around! Showing honor for others, regardless of how you feel about them, acknowledges that you are willing to submit yourself to the authority that has been placed above you, and in time you will earn respect from those around you.
5.      Mark 10:45 - For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
No matter how rich or poor you are, spend time serving and helping others. Every drop of love and compassion that you give away comes back to you multiplied many times over. What a sad, empty life you will have lived if you wake up one day and realize that the end of your life is near and you never really touched anyone else. Include in your circle of friends people who are different than you are. Your world will be very small if you only surround yourself with people who act, and look, and think like you do. Find someone rich and someone poor and listen to what they have to say! Your life will be fuller for doing so.
I guess you could sum up all the advice above with one simple, common phrase; "what goes around, comes around". May you do more good in this world than bad, may you will always be blessed with friends and family, and may you glean these rewards all the days of your life.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12