This Sunday is Graduate Recognition. No doubt many of our graduates have already heard a commencement speech. A while back I read about someone who went through an experience that changed his life. It was Stephen King, the author of many scary books and creator of some scary movies. Back in 2001, he was asked to give the commencement address at Vassar College.
He began by saying this: "I have to tell you the scary truth, because that's my job. And you knew I was the scary guy when you picked me for this job, so deal with it." But he went on to talk about what happened to him after he was hit by a van at night and left by the side of the road for dead:
What will you do? Well, I'll tell you one thing you're not going to do, and that's take it with you. I'm worth I don't exactly know how many millions of dollars . . . and a couple of years ago I found out what 'you can't take it with you' means. I found out while I was lying in the ditch at the side of a country road, covered with mud and blood and with the tibia of my right leg poking out the side of my jeans like the branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm. I had a MasterCard in my wallet, but when you're lying in the ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts MasterCard.
For Stephen King, that was a life-changing revelation - that when we face the end of our lives and what it all means, how much money or credit we have, really means nothing. We might have gained the whole world - but real life, which nurtures our souls, is more than that.
Jesus sums it up this way: "What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" (Mark 8:36, NIV) It is more than "what's in your wallet" that counts in life!