Akin exhorts grads to servanthood during record commencement

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)--Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary celebrated the graduation of its largest class in history May 22 as 246 students received graduate and undergraduate degrees at the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.

President Daniel L. Akin presided over his first graduation ceremony, delivering a charge to students to invest their lives as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Students received degrees ranging from associate and bachelor’s degrees to master’s and doctoral degrees. Undergraduate degrees were granted by the seminary’s undergraduate program, Southeastern College at Wake Forest.

In delivering his charge, Akin preached from Mark 10:32-45, reminding the grads that they are never more like Jesus than when they are serving and giving their lives for others.

“Servanthood is the way of spiritual greatness,” Akin said. “The cross always comes before the crown. Indeed, we are most like the Savior when we are servants.

“That’s not the way other graduation ceremonies are taking place this time of year,” he noted. “Other graduates are being encouraged to go out and make a name for themselves and to seek notoriety, prestige and prominence. But God’s Kingdom doesn’t work that way. In God’s Kingdom, those who are great wait on others and serve others.”

Akin warned students that many of them likely would be misunderstood at some time in their lives for their choice to serve Jesus, even by close friends and family members. Jesus’ value system, he said, turns the worldly system upside down.

“But for those of us who have come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we operate by a simple principle: All that matters in life is to please Jesus,” Akin said.

Akin concluded with a challenge to graduates to love and serve with the fervor and selflessness that the Savior exemplified, no matter where it is that God has called them.

(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: DONNING THEIR ROBES.

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