It is the season of graduation speeches. Students all over the country are being encouraged to “dream big” and “do what you love.” Speakers are assuring 2012 graduates that they can “change the world.”
Tufts University invited a former Navy Seal to give their commencement address. Eric Greitens served several tours fighting terrorism, but was relatively unknown compared to other famous speakers. The school newspaper described him as “the best graduation speaker we’ve never heard of.”
In spite of Greitens’ lack of reputation, his message made national headlines. He encouraged graduates to find strength in weakness. Recalling some of his most challenging experiences, he said, “The more I thought about myself, the weaker I became. The more I recognized that I was serving a purpose larger than myself, the stronger I became."
In many ways, the Apostle Paul would have agreed. Describing his own challenges, Paul wrote, “But (Jesus) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”
Christians serve a purpose larger than themselves in Christ. Recognizing our weakness and calling on Christ gives us strength. We don’t find it by focusing on ourselves.
That isn’t a popular message at graduations. Personal achievement is the language of commencement. Humility is saved for less formal occasions.
As you approach the coming week, have the humility to admit your weakness. That humility is the beginning of strength in Christ. When we recognize we need Jesus, He gracefully offers strength for the day. Though we may not be able to change the world the way graduation speeches typically tell us, Jesus can.