WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–More than 260 graduates were sent out to engage the culture for the cause of Christ May 26 in commencement ceremonies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southeastern College at Wake Forest.
Students from across the United States and around the world crossed the stage to receive their diplomas from President Daniel Akin amidst cheers from friends and family. Among the graduates were 183 who received master’s or advanced degrees from the seminary, hailing from 24 states and 10 countries, and 76 who received associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degrees from the college.
Jay Strack, evangelist and president of Student Leadership University in Orlando, Fla., delivered the commencement address. Strack’s son-in-law, Brent Crowe, received a master’s degree during the ceremony.
Strack reminded the graduates that “life is tissue paper-thin,” speaking from Hebrews 12.
“The race of life is filled with wonderful encouragement from the stories heroes and heroines take from the pages of the Word of God,” Strack said. His address also took the audience to both the Old and New Testaments as he painted biblical portraits of characteristics the graduates will need to cultivate if they are to run the race for the glory of God.
Strack noted that the key word of Hebrews 12 is the word endurance, often translated “patience” elsewhere in Scripture. It is often used to speak of the patience of God, but in human terms it is always mentioned in the context of suffering.
“We are not to be ones who barely get through, who barely hang on,” Strack said. “We are to be courageous … more than conquerors. We are to run the race with great patience and great joy.”
Strack highlighted the story of Rebekah in the Book of Genesis, for example, recounting how she was a thoroughgoing servant who went above and beyond the call of duty in her tasks.
“The great door of opportunity always swings on the tiny hinges of obedience,” Strack said.
He further challenged the graduates to have a personal vision for God’s glory and, using John the Baptist as an example, to always have a bigger vision than self -– “something worth living and something even worth dying for.”
“I want to be one of the voices that God uses to speak to my generation,” Strack said.