WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Sent to lead? Perhaps. Sent to serve? Absolutely.
With those words, Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, charged 237 spring graduates to follow Christ’s model of service.
“The greatest person who ever lived and walked on this earth was a humble servant,” Akin said. “He got down low so that He might lift others up. And now He calls us, those who follow Him, to do the same.”
Southeastern’s 63rd graduating class included 42 undergraduate, 172 graduate and 23 doctoral degree recipients at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.
Drawing inspiration from the life of Scottish missionary John Keith Falconer (1856-1887), Akin asked the May 20 commencement audience to consider why a young man would leave everything behind to serve Christ in Yemen and ultimately die at an early age.
In quoting Falconcer, Akin said, “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light.”
This radical idea, Akin said, came from none other than Jesus Christ. In Mark 10:45, Jesus made a promise that no other ruler or king has or could ever make. “He came to serve,” Akin said. “He came to burn the candle of His life for you and for me.”
After encouraging the graduates to minister in Christ-like service and sacrifice, Akin addressed guests who have not believed in Christ. Explaining that the Gospel is meant for them and forgiveness can be theirs, Akin said, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. The God who is in heaven will forgive you.”
Akin then sent the graduates out into their ministries with words that have become a motto for every Southeastern student: “Because He came, we must go.”