Brothers, you know what time it is.
From the outset, let me send this greeting out to the graduates of our nation--be
they holders of high school diplomas, or college/university degrees. They
get an annual tip of the hat from this columnist for a job well done.
Sure, I’d like to be there in person, standing on the platform as many of
our younger brothers receive their diplomas and/or degrees. Maybe one day,
I’ll be able to deliver this speech in person.
However, thanks to the march of modern technology, my remarks will sail
into the realm of the Internet and into the hands of many a praying parent
or relative, who will--out of the kindness of their hearts, and concern for
your future--pass it on to you.
THE UPDATED RAMEY COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS:
Congratulations, young men! You have made it! You, along
with your female classmates, have succeeded in your efforts to grab the
payment on life--that diploma or degree.
Now, from the parents in the house, I’d like to remind the graduates of
our dual-pronged mantra: ‘Know who God is AND get your EDUCATION!’ Yes, the
‘parental death penalty’ threat has been lifted--because you have succeeded!
You have fixed your gaze on the objective, and have reached it. You have
‘climbed’ the mountain.
However. As you look across the valley, you see yet another series of mountains
which you young brothers are going to have to climb.
Those mountains are the mountains of real life.
On behalf of your parents, your
pastors and church leadership, and on behalf of some of us ‘gray headed
Old Schoolers’, I’d like to spend just a few moments to let you know the
names of some of those mountains you are going to have to face--and conquer!
THE FIRST MOUNTAIN--DISCOURAGEMENT:
For you young brothers, the
first hill that you will have to climb is called Discouragement. It’s a
slippery one to climb, as some of the terrain seems to constantly change
from one year to the next. That sheepskin in your pocket is your down payment
on what your have mastered in the classroom.
It is NOT a down payment
on what you have yet to master in life.
To climb this mountain is going
to take courage, my young brothers. It is going to mean that you will have
to learn how to say NO to feeling sorry for yourself, and be willing
to back up your words with actions wherever, and whenever life hands you
the short end of the stick. To climb this mountain is going to mean that
you will have to know with whom to associate, to whom you can relate, and
from whom you will have to RUN!
One of the lessons I have learned
from life, I pass freely on to you. People can spot greatness in you, oftentimes
faster than you can spot greatness in yourself. On the other side of the
coin, many of those who can spot greatness in you may be among the first
one to try to grind it out of you with discouraging words, caustic comments,
and negative talk.
Shake off the negative, and
keep you eyes fixed on the climb. Not only is the objective to make it
to the other side of the mountain; you must also provide aid and comfort
to those other souls who will be coming up after you. Remember the words
of the immortal Mark Twain: I can go three months on a compliment!
After the graduation ceremony
is over today, many of you will make it over to the campus bookstore--for
the last time--to trade in your books. I would urge you to invest some
of what you get back into yet another book, entitled: ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’
by John Bunyan. Yes, it was written a few centuries ago. However, the messages
contained within this book are priceless and will help you overcome Discouragement
THE SECOND MOUNTAIN--LOVE:
Oh, some of you may ‘think’
that you know a thing or two about the ‘opposite sex’. However, let an
Old Schooler hip you on two things about women. The first: Any man that
brags about the number of conquests he has had is NOT a man, but a child
who is big for his age. The second: Any man who says that they know all
there is to know about women is a LIAR.
LOVE is not LUST with a different spelling.
My young brothers, you will
have to understand not only the difference between the two; you will have
to determine in yourselves that you won’t fall for each and every set of
pretty eyelashes that are batted your way!
Love Mountain has other names:
The mountain of self-control; the mountain of physical purity; the mountain
of delayed gratification or the mountain of self-contentment. Be advised--if
you CAN NOT control yourself around members of the opposite sex, you will
not only compromise your manhood; you will eventually be scarred by an
STD (sexually transmitted disease), or the business end of a 9mm pistol!
Men and women are different,
contrary to what the feminized mainstream press and Hollywood may put forth.
A man is stimulated by what he SEES, and a woman is stimulated by what
she HEARS. My young brothers, you are adults in age, but not in experience.
To climb Love Mountain means that you will have to HOLD OUT for the right
woman to become your WIFE for LIFE.
Yes, I know divorce has been
rampant in our modern society. Yes I have heard the excuses from both young
men and young women for the need to get their roll on. Yes, I have seen
the reports, read the studies, and heard the rap. However, the ultimate
objective in climbing and conquering Love Mountain is to realize that your
future wife is waiting for you on the other side. If you ARE right, and
STAY right, then you will know how to CHOOSE right. You--and she--will
live happily ever after because you took the time to WAIT.
The best thing to wake up with
in the morning--is a clear conscience.
Don’t bed--until you WED! Can
I get an AMEN from the parents in the house?
THE LAST MOUNTAIN--GOOD
Now, I know that this next mountain
is going to cause a bit of controversy because some believe that it is
a forbidden subject. The subject of TRUE spiritual satisfaction. This mountain
also has a variety of names, ranging from the New Age to Reincarnation.
Your time in this institution
of higher learning has led you to many different paths in the discovery
of ‘religion’. However, let me state for the record that I am a Christian,
and I am NOT ashamed to bend my knee and call on the Lord in prayer. I’ve
seen the rest; but God still has the best in mind for those who belong
to Him, and call upon His name.
I’d like to remind the brothers
in the house that it wasn’t that long ago in American History that African
Americans were FORBIDDEN to learn how to read and write. The men and women
who were brave enough to teach our fore parents how to uncover the mysteries
of the English language did so at great cost. Some of them sacrificed their
lives in order to teach us how to read and write.
Do you know what book our fore
parents wanted to master? Do you want to know the first book that was in
many a home library? The KJV. The B-I-B-L-E.
Many of you brothers come to
college from cities and towns that have strong churches. There were people
praying for your success, and that diploma or degree represents an answer
to their prayers. Out of a sense of duty to your people, and reverence
for those who prayed for you, I would urge you to say THANK YOU by
taking the climb up that Mountain. You will discover that Jesus Christ
has already made the climb, and is merely awaiting your decision to join
Him in the journeys of life.
Yes, this particular mountain
is going to be the hardest to climb. Not everyone is going to be glad to
acknowledge that you have made the climb, if you decide to trek out for
it. Fewer still are going to applaud your efforts in making it up the steep
grade, and the rocky soil of this world. As a matter of fact, there ARE
those who are going to challenge your climb up this particular mountain,
saying that the Christian ‘religion’ is a white man’s religion.
They are wrong, wrong, WRONG!
Christianity is NOT a religion,
but a firm RELATIONSHIP with God, the one who created the universe, allowed
your heart to beat, and your lungs to fill with air. You are NOT an accident;
but are on time by DESIGN.
Trust me on this one, my young
brothers, as it comes right from the KJV Bible: "I was once young, but
now I am old. I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor their seed
Once upon a time, each of us
here on this platform has sat in your seats, awaiting our sheepskins. There
used to be a time when the local Pastor or preacher would be making the
commencement remarks. These days, people tend to ‘push’ God’s people out,
and usher everyone else in with their ‘words of wisdom’. Let me bring you
this note of encouragement as I bring my Graduation address to a close.
The only way you will get to
know God is to study His word for yourself. And, thank God that you live
in a nation where you can still seek Him. The events of 9/11 should underscore,
in a very powerful fashion how precious our religious liberty is in the
United States of America. America may not be all that she can be; but she
is a lot better than the nations without God, who are in second, third,
or fourth place.
It is up to YOU, my graduating
brothers to help America be all that she can be, by being all that YOU
Now, God Bless you, and go forth
to do exploits that will remind the world who you are--blessed of God.
Thank you, put your shoes back on, and have a great life!”