Just over a week ago we celebrated the very first ARISE Australia class graduation. We had the privilege of teaching and, more importantly, getting to know 24 eager students. The Lord blessed us with a diverse and entertaining group ranging from the 18 year-olds, fresh out of high school, to the wise man in his sixties with a burden to serve and be a blessing.
It’s weird how you can grow close to people in a short time. It didn’t take much of an effort for me to walk into class during those marathon teaching assignments. I honestly considered it a pleasure. It reminds me of the words of Paul writing to his brethren:
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends” (Philippians 4:1)!
I don’t need to look very far for reminders of why I do what I do. It’s not difficult to stay motivated in the work of the Lord when you’re constantly rubbing shoulders with people who are hungry for the Gospel, ready to commit, and excited about the potential of their contribution to the Kingdom. These students represent the kind of people that keep me going.
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
I get it, Paul. I’m feeling what you’re feeling!
Here’s another video we put together for the students because, other than James, we weren’t able to be there through the end of the program. The video was played at the graduation ceremony.