A New Start

A New Start

It's never too late to do the right thing.

by Trey Graham

May — the month of dreams, the month of new beginnings for students across America — is now upon us. May is the time of year that students graduate. This stage in life — whatever that may be — is finally finished, and the next one can begin. From kindergarten to eighth grade to high school to college, millions of students look at this achievement as a feather in their cap and a stepping stone to greater glory. This month’s calendar is filled with graduation ceremonies — that monument in life to past accomplishment and future potential. Like opening day in baseball, where every team is undefeated and plans to win this year’s World Series, graduation means a chance to move on to bigger and better things.

Graduation: a new start, a greater opportunity. For some students, the chance to start over; for others, the chance to build on the successes of the past. But for all, the realization that the benefits of childhood are ending, and the bills called “responsibilities of adulthood” and “time to grow up” have finally become due.

But what is next? What lies ahead? Some people have been called to rid the world of war and famine, to find a cure for cancer, or to solve the problems of racism and hatred. Most of us will never change the world. But we can change ourselves and make a new start during this graduation month. All of us can give ourselves a final exam, judging whether or not we have lived up to our potential and used our God-given abilities to make this world a better place.

A new course

Do you remember that time in life when it seemed every door of opportunity was open; you just had to choose which one you wanted? Do you sometimes wonder where all that youthful enthusiasm and naive ambition went? As the old saying reminds us, “Ever notice that about the time you think you’re ready to graduate from the school of experience, somebody thinks up a new course?”

Well, though we may not have lived up to “Most Likely to Succeed” status or married the homecoming queen or become a successful surgeon, we all have something to contribute to our society. We can all make the honor roll of friendship, the dean’s list of charity, or the magna cum laude level of generosity and brotherly love.

Never forget the young man who spent an entire day picking up starfish and throwing them back into the ocean. When asked by passersby why he was returning these animals to the sea, he replied, “If I don’t, they will die.”

The strangers then tried to remind him that there were millions of starfish on the beach and that he could not possibly help them all. “True,” he answered, throwing another starfish into the ocean, “but it sure made a difference to that one.”

A new perspective

Let’s make a difference to one person we meet today. Let me suggest that we all celebrate a graduation this month — kind of a New Year’s resolution in May. Let’s decide to look at the rest of our lives, beginning today, as a new start and a gift from God to make His world better. Like the collegian setting out to change the world, all of us would do well to try to change our little corner of the universe for the glory of God and the betterment of mankind.

Let’s remember that we all need encouragement and support from others, and that living quality lives meansincreasing the quality of life of those around us.

In Bible school, we learned a little proverb that, if we all adopted it, would make life more peaceful and secure: “We know not what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.” All of us, whether we graduated this month, last year, or fifty years ago, need to look to God for guidance, to ask His direction for how we can seize our opportunities as graduates of life’s school of daily learning.

To all graduates everywhere this month (especially those now in the school called “real life”) — go get ’em. Remember who you are and Whom you represent, and keep your heads up. Don’t forget what former Dallas Cowboy Don Meredith said: “Potential only means that you ain’t done nothin’ yet.”

Now is your chance. Make this world a little brighter because you have been a point of light in our society.

Trey Graham, of Plano, TX, is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Melissa, TX (www.fbcmelissa.net) and the founder of Faith Walk Ministries (www.faithwalk ministries.com). He is a popular speaker and the author of the inspirational book of short stories Lessons for the Journey. Trey’s articles have been published in the editorial sections of the Dallas Morning News, the Amarillo Globe-Times, and the Beaumont Enterprise, as well as numerous guest columns published in the religion section of the Dallas Morning News. In addition, Trey has had articles published in Christian magazines across the United States and Canada, including Plain Truth, Christian Courier, Alive! Light, DFW Heritage Newspaper, Worldwide Challenge, Proclaim, and Growing Churches. He can be reached at trey.graham@ west-point.org or via http://www.faithwalk ministries.com.