Promise of A Generation
It is a unique and God given privilege to be able to share with you today, I salute and thank the Chaplain for allowing me to attempt precisely that today the 19th of May 2019. But I had asked myself several times and searched my heart in great depths about the key question of the day, how am I going to say an appropriate goodbye in the short time in the pulpit today to the so many of you I have become fond of and come to adore. How am I going to crystalise thoughts and a message that might inspire a generation? Maybe it was divinely orchestrated that the text for today is Paul’s words of farewell. Shall we pray together?
2 Corinthians 13 v.11.
Finally brethren, farewell: Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the GOD of love and peace shall be with you. Now shall we say the sermon is concluded? I wish it were that simple. …..
This epistle from Paul to the Corinthians is a valediction, and an affectionate wish for perfection, consolation, and Christian concord and communion to his beloved brethren, of whom he is now taking his leave of; It is considered a far better legacy, than if he could have bequeathed to them all the riches, honours, and pleasures that this world could afford: We in this Chapel cannot offer you riches or expensive gifts as you depart this great institution but I hope through God’s word we might offer you something more valuable and enduring, something of eternal value.
You have spent the past few years here studying and trying to acquire a degree; you have done so because of the promise that it offers you. You are in many respects right because every generation has promise, mine had promise but is fast fading away, Soyinka’s had and it crumbled into a heap of ashes. Some may suggest we have already failed but the existential question is what will yours, the Millennials do with the so much promise we have invested in you, the promise of innovation, of enterprise, of self-reliance and above all the promise of Christ Jesus?
As you depart the undulating valleys, the heights, the lows, the alleyways, the lecture theatres, the hostels, the stadium and all that captures the essence that his Lead City University, Ibadan what will you remember or what is your take home? What will you regale your parents, your siblings, your friends, cronies and the lot with? I trust you will tell them you stood on the magnificent plains of Lead City University and that you sauntered down the fabled ‘airport’ road at night, saturated with the tropical and unforgettable fresh breeze of Ibadan..…I hope you might relay to them that you sat, fraternized, engaged and argued with future Professors, Accountants, Judges, Lawyers, Diplomats and Teachers, that you made a difference in your environment and became a phenomenon for global success, knowledge and self-reliance.
I hope that you will relay to them that on a glorious Sunday morning like today on the edge of the raining season, with brightness streaking across the clear blue skies, the air thickened with optimism, the gaiety of dressing, the riot of colours and the pure whites robes adorned and with hope abound in the atmosphere that you will say you were privileged to sit in the well of the University Chapel, listening to God’s word worshipping Him and being transformed by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I have an infinite and abiding confidence that as you graduate, leaving the plains of this environs, that the streets, avenues, roads and drives of Nigeria will become too crowded with angels tomorrow, and every time you think you have measured your capacity to meet a challenge, you will look with elevated eyes to the heavens and be reminded that your capacity in God may well be limitless. I pronounce and believe you are Lead City heroes but this is a time for Nigerian heroes and your Nation needs you to do what is hard and to achieve what is great.
As you proceed out into the global world, out of the confines of this great and glorious place I urge you to promise us you will do what is hard and believe that you will achieve what is great. I have said to you this is a time for heroes but more specifically Nigerian heroes and we need you to reach for the stars, the galaxies and what is set beyond it, for the history of humanity and indeed this University is hung on a timeline of exploration and you are the ‘What is Next’. Therefore I want you to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed Citizens can change the World.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. — Eleanor Roosevelt.
I return to a popular theme of mine, our responsibility to our environment, our self worth and our desire to be the difference wherever we are. Are you one of those who seeks to conserve energy by switching off the bulb or florescent when he/she departs the room? That ensures your sachet of pure water or food container is disposed of appropriately? Are you one of the many that could care less whatever happens? Let us ponder, personally I have never asked a student to do what I will not do, If I can do it then of course you can. But I query many of us young ones who invest only time in prayers but discard any notion we may have of personal responsibility.
To those of you I taught personally and I believe it is all of you, I pray may God bless you and help you achieve your dreams. Do and forget us and we will always be there with you whenever you need us. It was a great pleasure being a teacher of many such genius students. To you all I urge the following:
· Let Jesus be Enough;
· Let nothing Lack in your worship;
· Focus on your eternal account;
· Fight your fears with faith; and
· Never forget you are a family
We hear Paul’s last few words to the Philippians: “Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever, Amen.” In all you do going forward glorify God. It’s about God.
Whilst we will feel and miss your presence on this campus, the reality is your leaving will not end the Chapel or God’s work in this University it is never about a man or woman in this church. You must have ways to support the ongoing work and mission of this Chapel. This is Christ’s church. The Father sent Him. He died for it. He built it. Through Christ you can be a church. All you need to carry on is Jesus.
Now I believe the most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained.
In conclusion I hearken to that exhortation in Phil. 1 v. 27.
'Only let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of CHRIST: that whither I come and see you or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel.
Finally I share Acts 20.32. And now brethren, I commend you to GOD and to the word of his grace▪ which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.— AMEN.