Graduate To Greatness



By Dennis Thurman 

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,

And He delights in his way. (Psalm 37:23)

You who are graduating are going to be making the biggest decisions of your lives in the next few years: you will be deciding about continuing your education, getting married, and about your career. Do you want to just make a living or make a life? Will you graduate to greatness? I’m not talking about fortune and fame—and all that the world says constitute greatness.   I mean true greatness—a life that makes an impact for God and for good. David tells us how.

You must EXHIBIT FEARLESSNESS (v.1-4). Fear will paralyze us. Panic will drive us into bad decisions. As we look at our world today, there is every reason to fear. God, however, calls us to walk by faith and not by sight. David was only a youth when he went out to fight a ten-foot giant armed only with a slingshot. Human perspective would lead one to conclude, “He’s too big to beat!” David chose heaven’s perspective and concluded, “He’s too big to miss!” Henry Blackaby has said, “Fear is having faith in the enemy.” Who is bigger—the enemy or God?

Those who graduate to greatness also EXPRESS FAITHFULNESS (v.5-6). These verses have been life-changing to me. It was the evening of July 30, 1976 that my wife, Marilyn, and I were in an open air auditorium on a warm summer night at the Ben Lippen Conference Center. The late Stephen Olford took this text and challenged us to full-time Christian service. We had been wrestling with God’s call on our young lives and that night we both stepped out and surrendered to the will of God. We signed a card, “Lord Jesus, anything, anywhere, anytime, I am ready.” We embarked on an incredible journey and we haven’t looked back. We have tried to be faithful to God’s call. A life of impact for God does not require you to be a pastor or missionary. God needs His people in all walks of life. Be faithful wherever God stations you.

People of impact EXCLUDE FRETFULNESS (v.7-8). Three times in these verses we are told this! The word literally means, “to boil”—we’d say, “hot under the collar.” It happens when we see others succeed even though we may have worked harder; or someone else gets ahead by cheating while we try to do it right. Do not get steamed when you think life isn’t fair—it isn’t. Neither is God, by the way—He is just—which means in the end He’ll do right. All fretfulness will do is give you ulcers or stroke. Anger will poison your relationships: with your spouse, kids, fellow workers—even with God!

Those who graduate to greatness EXPERIENCE FRUITFULNESS (v.9-11). This is a life that will make a difference in the world. To the Jew, all the blessing of God was tied up in the land—a land flowing with milk and honey. Jesus quoted this passage as a promise to the meek. We do not get ahead by striving but serving—not by promoting yourself, but humbling yourself. When we desire only what God desires, then He delights to give what we desire. If you commit yourself to God, then it becomes His responsibility to enable you to fulfill that commitment. Where God’s finger points, His hand provides. David experienced this fruitfulness. Where others saw a shepherd boy, God saw a king. Step out in faith, and graduate to greatness!

*Dennis Thurman has pastored churches in Western North Carolina for 36 years. Currently, he is Senior Pastor of Pole Creek Baptist Church where he has served for almost 20 years. Married to Marilyn for 40 years, they have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.

This article was originally posted on Dennis’ blog, Mountain Top Musings


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