For quite a few years in a row now, I have had the opportunity to speak to high school seniors during a class gathering. I had that same privilege again this morning as part of the WCCS Senior Class Retreat. It was a great joy to spend some time with, listening to, and sharing a few thoughts from the Scriptures with them. When I asked what their class was already good at, the immediate response was, “we love each other.” That was great to hear. When asked what they need to get better at before they graduated, one brave young man said that they needed to mature, which was followed by a round of applause by quite a few young ladies in the class. While it did bring a few giggles, I really think it was an honest introspection that acknowledged the need for all of them to keep growing up. I then jumped in to one of my favorite passages to share with high school seniors – Hebrews 13:7 – which says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider their ways of life, and imitate their faith.” From this passage, I sought to bring out two main points.
First, having noted that they have room to grow, I challenged them to look back (“remember”) at the adults in their lives who have shared the truth of the gospel with them and who have lived lives worthy of imitation. These could be teachers, coaches, directors, youth pastors, parents, etc. Most will have just one more year with regular interactions with these adults. I encouraged them to pay very close attention to their lives so that they may be able to imitate their faith this year and beyond. Basically, this is a great way to grow!
Second, I turned the tables on them and reminded them that they needed to be those leaders that the younger children “remember” and imitate. In what I hope will become a long-standing tradition, the senior class will spend their first lunchtime during their retreat on the Lower School campus – eating lunch with the kindergarteners. I know that the little kids are very excited, and was pleased that our seniors were looking forward to this as well. I called on our seniors to speak the word of God to them and to live lives in front of these five-year-olds that would be worthy of emulation! I closed this challenge with a quick thought that brought the most notable surprise on the part of the seniors. I told them that it was very possible that the kids who are in kindergarten today could be seniors at WCCS when THEIR kids are in kindergarten. The eyes of ALL of them (and a few of the teachers in the room) got very wide. I could see them doing the math in their heads. One young man said, “for that to happen, I would have to become a dad in six years.” A few chuckles later, followed by a reminder from several teachers in the room who married at 22 and had kids at 24 or 25, the reality of needing to live a life worthy of imitation seemed quite a bit more important.
My closing prayer for our seniors was that they would remember their leaders and imitate their faith; and that they would be the leaders worthy of imitation by the next generation. If they do, Lord willing, they will be a blessing to the world as disciples of Jesus Christ!