It is a great privilege to have been invited by Mrs. Green to address the leavers of 2017 (and everyone), but especially you six. It certainly is a milestone we want to celebrate!
Harriet, Natasha, Nathaniel, Michel, Lucas, Samuel, you are probably counting down the hours, not just till the end of the year but to your new adventure at secondary school. You’re flying the coup, moving on, leaving the nest! But I hope you won’t forget us all at St. Andrew’s, that when you’re learning to drive in a few years you’ll drive past, if you get married and have children, take them past, show them where you went to primary school. Laugh…but it will be here before you know it [click fingers]. You are maturing, growing up. But I hope you will remember the Christian values you have learned, and I’d like to leave you with one last thing to consider.
Jesus says that the key to growing spiritually mature is to turn and become like children [not go this way but go back this way]. Crazy thing to share at a leaver’s service! Just when we’re celebrating moving on (physically speaking), Jesus is calling to you turn around (spiritually speaking), and become like children.
Listen to what’s going on in Matt 18:1–3:
1…the disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
2 So Jesus called a child to come and stand in front of them, 3 and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. (GNT)
Powerful words, potentially confusing words too! What did Jesus mean by become like a little child? Did He mean to become innocent? Parents, what is one of the first words a child says? “No!” That’s right! Jesus was not talking about innocence. What did He mean then? V. 4:
4 The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. (GNT)
See when we are young we are dependent on parents, adults, teachers…but as we grow up we become independent, self-sufficient, responsible…new skills and abilities. And physically speaking that is good. But Jesus says to be spiritually mature, to be “great in the Kingdom of heaven,” we must become humble. Humility is the key to entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Humility means to be entirely dependent on Jesus with your whole life, whereas pride is to think you’re so great you don’t need Jesus in your life.
My prayer is, yes, fly the coup, mature, do great things, but even more I pray that you will remember this spiritual lesson today, that the key to true greatness is to trust in Jesus.
Thanks for listening and the Lord’s blessings to all our leavers! [Shake hands].