I stand before you today, joined with eleven other individuals -- individuals who have made a tremendous impact on my life. Together we form the Lake Region Christian School graduating class of 2001. The past 13 years of our lives now conclude with a ceremony and a diploma. Tonight holds meaning; it represents effort and work. The first day of kindergarten we packed our bags and started our trek up the mountain. We had no idea what lay ahead. We are much the same today as we face our futures. Many times, God does not allow us to see the whole mountain from where we start. He reveals it to us one step at a time. Step by step we have completed countless homework assignments and sat through endless classroom hours. The whole way through we have had our eyes fixed here -- on graduation. Today we end the journey. We stand proud with hearts of excitement as we glance behind us and take in what we just came through.
We now turn forward. We lift our eyes and peer out at so many more things to attempt, more mountains to climb. Our thoughts race and apprehension consumes our view as we take in a vast, new realm of opportunities. The clock doesn't stop; tomorrow will come. Therefore we can't stop. So with a heart of faith, we now grip Christ's hand a little tighter and proceed forward into a valley of uncertainty and change. We can't coast on the accomplishments we have achieved. What we have done here will serve us no benefit until we take and use these accomplishments, and apply these lessons as tools to better our future.
For some it's off to boot camp; for others, it may be college. We all hold dreams. That perfect career or that perfect lifestyle is within our sights; but time holds us here, now. The only thing we know for sure is what's right in front of us. The road to those dreams may hold unexpected bumps or detours. We're not sure. What we do know is Who established our destiny, and our Lord and Savior might be the only surety we have at times.
This year we've caught a foresight of that uncertainty, and how easy it can be to worry. We've held each other up in prayer, as we made decisions for the weeks ahead. Whether it was morning prayer time, or devotions with Mrs. P., sitting in a condo, or just sharing privately with each other, God has intervened. He gave us a sense of understanding that allowed us to see a little clearer, walk a little straighter. When our eyes and heart are fixed on God, these bumps won't seem as important. Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." God is perfectly capable of giving each one of us up here anything we can dream. But that's not what it's all about. It's about Him. And when His kingdom is the ultimate goal in our lives, it will be exciting to watch those other dreams fall into place. It's encouraging to know that whatever happens to us -- tragic or wonderful -- it will be nothing short of God's perfect will for our lives.
Somewhere in the pages of your program you might have read our class verse, Philippians 3:8. It reads, "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." What is more? What is out there that can surpass the joy and the assurance of having Jesus Christ?
Our parents have shown us the importance of centering our lives around Him; this school and our teachers have provided for us further opportunities to grow. And for that we thank you. The 12 people you see up here might be angels (if you are a parent), distressing (if you are a teacher), or maybe strangers (to others of you); but we are unfinished masterpieces to God. Our futures will be magnificent if we follow in His steps, in accordance with His word. May we never lose that intimate bond with the One who deserves our all.
(Ogren was a co-valedictorian at Lake Region Christian School in Baxter.)
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