The following speech is an adaptation from the welcome speech at the first student assembly.
This year I am appealing to our school community to aim high. I am wishing each one of you to expect great things from yourselves and each other. But I am also wanting to make it clear that our focus on school ‘stuff’ is not our main purpose.
So what is our purpose in life?
“The Bible is very clear as to what our purpose in life should be. Both the Old and New Testaments document our search for the purpose of life:
“Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, discovered the futility of life when it is lived only for this world. He gives these concluding remarks in the book of Ecclesiastes: "Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecc 12:13”
In the New Testament, Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment. He responded by saying Love God and Love One another.
Our purpose in life can therefore be summarised biblically as follows:
glorify God and enjoy fellowship with Him,
have good relationships with others,
have dominion over the earth.
The latter point burden’s us with a huge responsibility to demonstrate good stewardship over the world God has given to us.
So hopefully you will see the connection between the challenge I started with this morning.
It is not just academic success; expecting great things means far beyond A’s on your report. It reaches into the value you place on your work ethic, and just as importantly, the high value you place on honouring God and building and maintaining relationships with others.
And this succinctly is our notion of ‘Thinking Differently’.
However, humans are fallen. We make mistakes - Lots of them. And the challenge of Jesus’ command seems simple. We often find ourselves wallowing in regret, hurt and failure.
Have you ever wondered about the circle of life. I know some of your minds went straight to the Lion King… but it seems a wonder of God’s creation.
The same as a sunrise and sunset… Our week starts and finishes, and our new year cycles with a celebration.
Why a celebration? I think it is because we can start fresh. So as you start this year I challenge you to start fresh. Expect great things and work hard to fulfil your purpose in Christ.
I would like to finish with a short quote that a parent shared with me yesterday:
"The start of a new day begins right now. No going back to rewrite the past. Go forward and rewrite the future. Stop pondering over what you did and did not do. What you could and should not have done. Go forward with new wisdom and knowledge and make the ending much more than the beginning. Starting today, remember the choices you make today can affect your tomorrow so think before you act, before you do and before you don't. Learning along the way."
Janice Harris, 2014