At Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s spring commencement service, Paige Patterson joked that as the 200 graduating college, master’s and doctoral students walked across the platform to receive their diplomas, they were taking a vow of poverty.
While graduates from other institutions often pursue a career to make money and a better life for themselves, Southwestern’s president explained that the seminary’s graduates should have a different aim — to make life better for everybody else, even if that means experiencing financial discomfort.
“That is a unique assignment,” Patterson told those who gathered May 9 on Southwestern’s Fort Worth campus, “and it merits a unique charge today from God’s Word.”
Patterson derived his message from Mark 2:1-12, which tells the story of Jesus healing a paralytic lowered through the roof of the house in which Jesus was teaching. Before he healed the man, however, Jesus first forgave the man’s sins.
Patterson challenged graduates to model their ministries after this example — first pointing people to Jesus’ saving grace and then striving to make the world around them better.
“Your first assignment is not to heal those who are sick, feed those who are hungry, [or] clothe those who need clothing,” Patterson clarified. “For all of that that you do today is gone tomorrow when mortality overtakes that individual. Your challenge as you go out, students, whatever it is you do, is to point men and women to faith in Jesus Christ who alone can forgive their sins.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press