An Ordinary Life

Valerie Ferrara

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. –1 Timothy 6:6-12

 

"We live in an age of great expectations." BTA Dean of Students, Davis Franklin, began last week's Chapel message with those words; he was speaking especially to the senior class while addressing the community at large. Mr. Franklin said that every year graduates across our nation are challenged to achieve wealth, fame, and to change the world. "However, we know the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil," Mr. Franklin reminded. "One who yearns for fame and recognition can never be sated."

"I would not charge you to pursue happiness," Mr. Franklin continued, "for if you make happiness your chief aim you are trying vainly to catch the wind. The Apostle Paul writes 'pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.' I can offer you no greater advice."

Pursue righteousness. "Seek the truth," Mr. Franklin said. "Hold yourself and your friends accountable. Aim to live above reproach."

Pursue godliness. "Pray without ceasing. Say prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude," he encouraged. "Feel the presence of God not just in worship, but when you share a meal with friends, when you forgive your enemies, when you sing with joy, when you dance in celebration, or gaze at the stars."

Pursue faith. "Believe that life is not an accident of chemistry, but the divine will of One who forged the universe from imagination. Believe that you were made not just to endure, but to thrive."

Pursue love. "Build and maintain friendships of generosity and patience. Love, not in order to receive, but to give."

Pursue perseverance. "Step back and maintain perspective," Mr. Franklin admonished. "Embrace the hardships of the tasks before you as opportunities for growth and discovery rather than as obstacles to be endured. Stand up for yourself and others. When you fight the good fight, fight until your very last breath."

Pursue gentleness. "Be merciful and well mannered," Mr. Franklin urged. "Use your words and actions for healing. Be mindful of others' thoughts, hopes, and dreams."

Mr. Franklin said of his admonitions, "If you do these things you may never achieve fame, but you will be loved and respected by those who know you. You may never garner great wealth, but you will never lack for a friend who may offer food and shelter. You will not save the world, but through the grace of God, you may serve as an instrument to the salvation of a single human soul."

"Do not be afraid to live an ordinary life as long as it is rooted in righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness," Mr. Franklin said in conclusion. "If you manage to achieve something the world acknowledges as great or noteworthy along the way, remember: achievements or lack thereof do not define you. We are all entering a new chapter. The rest of your life always starts in the present. The rest of your life always starts now."