As always I had two reactions last Sunday to our graduate recognition in Worship. The first is this: “I can’t believe they are graduating already”. The second reaction is this: I am so proud of their accomplishment and truly wish them well in their next phase of life. For some it is more education. For others it is entry into the workforce. In either case, having known most of the people, it bodes well for the future of our country. Our church family is celebrating the graduation of some very special people, whether it be from High School, College, or Graduate School. I am truly grateful for each of these very special and accomplished people.
Three weeks ago I read an essay written by a recent MBA graduate. I must confess I do not know her personally. Her name is Alyssa Ahlgren. Even so I say congratulations to Alyssa. What she wrote is in my estimation is so worthwhile, I am using her words for my enews this month. Here is what Alyssa writes:
“I’m sitting in a small coffee shop trying to think of what to write about. I put my phone down and look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBook’s, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought. We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty. One. Times. Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards. Yet, in a time where we can order a product off Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful.
My generation is being indoctrinated by a narrative to actually believe we have never seen prosperity. Why then, with all of the overwhelming evidence around us, evidence that I can even see sitting at a coffee shop, do we not view this as being incredibly blessed? We have people who are dying to get into our country. People around the world destitute and truly impoverished. Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity. In reality, my generation has only seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the great depression, or live through two world wars, the Korean War, The Vietnam War or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism. We don’t know what it’s like to live without the internet, without cars, without smartphones.
We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.”
What I find so fascinating is that the Apostle Paul in the very first chapter of Romans would agree with Alyssa. (Romans 1:21, 29). What leads to many problems, including violence and even wars, is a lack of gratitude. So I take this time to thank God for our graduates, and to thank each of our graduates for persisting, persevering and for pursuing a life of significance. May you always realize that “the respect of the Lord”, is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
Pastor Jim Carver