By Sarah Plummer
While friends and family gathered Saturday in Anderson Hall Chapel to celebrate the graduation and accomplishments of 50 Appalachian Bible College students, President Dr. Daniel L. Anderson said those gathered celebrate even more the students’ choice to give their hearts, mind and energy in service to God.
Commencement Speaker Dr. Richard Van Heukelum reiterated Solomon’s advice for youth from Ecclesiastes, telling them to “risk, rejoice and remember.”
Solomon, in chapter 11, verses 1-6, tells young people to “cast your bread upon the waters” and to “sow your seed ... for you do not know which will succeed.” Heukelum explained that no one can know what the future will bring and it takes risk to try something, but that we are called to take that risk because we don’t know what will happen.
He then told the graduates that they must “rejoice in what God has given you; it is what he wants for you. Your circumstances may not bring you joy, but God can bring you joy.”
And lastly, he pointed out Solomon’s advice in chapter 12, “Remember now your Creator in your days of youth.”
“Start doing it now. Many people say, ‘Someday I’m going to do it,’ but you might not have a lot of somedays. And even if you do, why would you wait until the end of your life to give it to your Creator?” he asked.
Heukelum told the story of William Borden, the heir to the Borden Inc. family fortune who in 1904 spent several months traveling the world. When he returned, he entered Yale and wrote in the back of his Bible “no reserves.”
To the dismay of many, he decided to become a Christian missionary in Egypt, then inscribing under his first phrase, “no retreats.”
While in Egypt, Borden died of cerebral meningitis.
Although many considered his early death at the age of 25 “a waste,” his family discovered, on his deathbed, he wrote a final phrase in the back of his Bible — “no regrets.”
“You may only live to be 25; make sure you can write in the back of your Bible ‘no regrets.’ And even if you live to be 105, make sure you can write in your Bible ‘no regrets,’” said Heukelum.
Heukelum is a senior pastor of Shawnee Baptist Church in Shamong, N.J.
Anderson challenged those attending the event to consider it their commencement as well.
“All sitting in the seats today can be challenged to move forward in our walk with God,” he said.
Special musical performances during the commencement were provided by the Appalachian Bible College Choral and Jubilate.
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