A lifelong and passionate ministry
“We are a community who rejoices, prays and worships together,” said Carson Mok [MDiv Biblical Studies 2015], valedictorian speaker at the Seminary Spring Graduation on May 9, 2015. He continued, referencing Matthew 10:16: “we are sheep sent by the Great Shepherd.” Carson Mok and Honorary Doctorate Dr. Minho Song offered encouragement and advice to the 97 graduates as they enter into an increasingly difficult world.
Dr. Song quoted one of his all-time favourite movies, Chariots of Fire, in his address. The film is based on the story of Eric Liddell, a Scottish man who planned to become a missionary in China. Before he left, Liddell wanted to run in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. His sister asked if running distracted him from mission work, to which he responded: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. When I run I feel His pleasure.” Liddell broke the record for the 400-metre race, smiling the whole way. “He felt God’s pleasure as he ran,” Dr. Song noted. Once Liddell finished the race, he travelled to China and “ran for a different pleasure—the pleasure of proclaiming the message of God’s love to the Chinese.”
“Let us talk about passion,” Dr. Song said. He explained that ministry is not an easy job, noting that an increasing number of people are burning out and leaving the pastorate. He asked the graduates to guard and take care of their calling. To maintain a passionate ministry, Dr. Song challenged them to remember two important areas: grace and spiritual discipline.
“Let Christ’s grace minister to you at all times,” said Dr. Song. Grace allows us to see ourselves and others how God sees us: both precious and worthwhile. Dr. Song illustrated his point with the image of two acrobats. They swing through the air and reach for each other’s arms, not hands. He explained that aiming for the arms creates a safer and stronger connection. It is the perfect metaphor for grace, he said. “Even though there are times when I fail to hold onto Christ’s arm, Jesus never, never fails to hold onto my arm.”
Likewise, spiritual discipline is the arm that we stretch out to Jesus. Loyalty, integrity and hard work are part of spiritual discipline: “Give your very best to the Lord.” Dr. Song reminded the graduates that a leader is someone who manages his or herself and then leads others. He ended with a blessing: “May the Lord bless you as you embark on a lifelong and passionate journey with Jesus.”