On Friday May 10, 2019, I was honored to serve as the consecration speaker for the graduating class of 2019 at my alma mater Oakwood University. The Lord blessed this homecoming experience. I wanted to capture the sentiments of my reflection on the moment in a letter to the class of 2019. I hope you will be inspired to walk in God's ordered steps for your life as well. Blessings!
Dear Oakwood University Class of 2019,
Standing before you Friday night was in many ways a dream come true. Giving back to the place which gave so much to me is a joy I will cherish for years to come. For this vote of confidence, thank you.
I am convinced that God has ordered your steps, my steps, our steps. For me, the key to a life of ultimate fulfillment is to walk in those steps. Like Joseph, your pathway may at times be circuitous, arduous, and laborious. You will have to hone faithfulness in obscurity, endure difficult inequities, and yet remain steadfast. But, like the marathoner’s extended arms communicate victory borne of adversity as she crosses the finish line, so trusting in God each step of the way will be worth it in this life and the life to come.
Speaking of life, the school of life has a way of both testing and confirming much of what you learned at Oakwood. Navigating the unknown variables of the invisible future will often feel daunting. During these times, keep your hearts in tune with God’s clarifying voice. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and patience. Be open to hearing God’s side of your story as He reveals His footprints and fingerprints within your personal narrative, past, present, and future.
To be sure, you will also experience moments of unbridled joy. Mark them with gratitude and consolidate their lessons into the fabric of your humility.
If nothing else, Oakwood sets out to encourage and nurture a biblical worldview in its pupils, one through which Oakwoodites see life as a gift from God to be lived as a gift to God. It is my prayer that you will unwrap the present of each brand new day with renewed resolve to walk in the steps God has ordained just for you.
Be faithful, Stay humble, and Keep walking.
All the best,
Richard D. Martin