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Posted: June 4, 2017 5:00 a.m.

Butts: To the Class of 2017…

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I believe that all commencement services are done for the year and we have a group of people ready to talk the world or life or however you want to phrase it. When I graduated high school there was an essay written by Mary Schmich called "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young". It was published in the Chicago Tribune and turned into a song by Baz Luhrmann.

This essay/song gave me a lot of good advice. It told me to wear sunscreen, don’t worry about the future, to do one thing every day that scares me, be nice to my siblings, and a few other things. If you have a few minutes you should read it or listen to the song.

The reason I bring all this up is because I would like to give the graduating classes one piece of advice before they embark on their own journey. Here it goes:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s a quote. Jesus of Nazareth said it when asked by Jewish leaders what the most important commandment was. This was his answer. He said all commandments hang on these two.

If you follow these words you will be amazed at how your life changes.

You will see that your value as a person is found in the way that God, The Creator, views you. Not what society or others think about you. You will find that happiness is not found in belongings or social status, but in the act of obedience and service to bring glory and honor to God and His kingdom.

You will also value all people as your equal because you realize that they are creations of God and He loves them just as much as he loves you. You will find more joy in serving others than being served. You will come to know that you cannot judge others. You will want to hear other people’s stories and get to know them better.

You will find out that the best fruit you can have for your wellbeing is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You will see that when you exhibit these behaviors that people are drawn to you. Some will want to know why you are so different from the rest of the world and others will want to persecute you.

This is my advice to you. Love God, Love your neighbor (that means everybody), and love yourself. You will struggle with some of this. You may find it difficult to God, others, or even yourself. When you do, you need to lean on God and on other people. You will need people in your life that are farther along on their journey than you are. These people will help you find your way.

When you choose to do these things know that this path is narrow. Matthew 7:13-14 tells us, “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” Surround yourself with people that will encourage you as you walk this path and know that there are others praying for you.

This is my advice to the class of 2017. Remember, Harper Lee once said, “Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.” I am not saying that I know all the answers. I do know that I have made a lot of mistakes and learned from them.

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