Some of you know that my hobbies include cycling and running. If you have done either at any distance, you know the sense of accomplishment when you finish a sanctioned ride/run. The hours of training, nursing multiple injuries, and scheduling hassles fade into deep memory when you accept your finisher’s award. The pain of training is replaced with the joy of finishing the race you set out to complete. The promise of “I’ll never do this again” at mile 10 is replaced with “When is the next one?” at the finish line… or, later that day.
Graduation is finishing the race of a degree program. It means the student has completed the course laid out for him or her and is ready for what lies ahead. Some people still resist the need and effort required for an accredited theological degree. Podcasts, internships, and conferences seem to suffice for a season, but all of those auxiliary activities combined do not provide a complete program of training for the marathon of ministry. It’s like someone training for a marathon on his own, while another enlists a mentor who provides a program of training and running partners. Nine times out of ten, the latter will outperform the former.
Scripture describes our life in Christ with running/racing metaphors. Paul knew of the gymnasium and games of his day and built mental bridges to those realities to describe the struggles and joys of following Jesus. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) One of my favorite images described by the writer of The Letter to the Hebrews is the admonition to “run with endurance the race set out for us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2) Endurance comes from training. Inspiration to finish comes from Someone who has completed the race before us.
We congratulate the graduates who have finished the race of pursuing their degrees and will honor them at this year’s Convocation. This is our largest graduating group to date, and it exemplifies the reach of Carroll’s influence around the world. I look forward to hearing Dr. Darin Wood who will address our graduates and who is running his own race of endurance these days. We will also have an announcement of our plans to advance B. H. Carroll Theological Institute over the next three years. You will want to see and hear this God-sized vision for his mission to equip men and women called to serve Christ and his church here and around the world.
I hope you will join us in person or via live streaming. Please lift up a prayer of thanksgiving for these graduates as they continue their ministries and for those who have trained them.
Serving Him With You,