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The Pastor’s Piece – May 14, 2023

The Pastor’s Piece

May 15, 2023

Graduation season is upon us. Time to spread your wings and fly. The world is waiting. There is great anticipation in the air as the new graduates put their hands to the plow and don’t look back. It’s that time of year when the invitations arrive in the mail and we start planning to attend the graduation parties. We get a lot of pleasure out of attending those events.

When I graduated from high school, my parents invited the relatives and a few close friends over to the house after the ceremony for cake and ice cream. We visited for a couple of hours then everyone went home. I remember the summer of my senior year of high school as the best. I played league baseball and softball, hung out with my friends and went swimming. We went to all the local county fairs and I still managed to work on the home dairy farm taking care of business. In the fall, the fun quickly faded and my attention turned to the serious work of taking care of my future. The trouble is, who knows what the future holds? In college, I switched majors twice, then wondered why I was even in school at all, so I took some time off to work – and met and married my wife, then we moved 2000 miles away to attend Bible College where I ended up with a double major in Bible and Pastoral Studies, graduating from college exactly 10 years after high school. Since then, we’ve spent 36 years in the ministry, the last 30 at Martintown – and we’ve managed to farm and own and operate another separate business besides. Who could have predicted the path we would take?

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps,” (Proverbs 16:9).

The Bible says that a good name is better than riches. As our graduates head out the door and into the real world, I hope they are able to grasp the value of a good name and the importance of making right choices. Someone once said that character can be defined by what one does when no one is looking. At one of the graduation ceremonies we attended a couple years ago, in her speech, one of the graduating seniors said that life is not about being happy, it’s not about finding the easy way, it’s not even about success or failure, but it’s about faith and courage. All those other things will come and go, but true success depends on the level of our faith in our Creator and Savior and the courage we have to face life as it comes our way. The two go hand in hand.

In the Bible, in Genesis 5, God gives us a list of the names of Adam’s descendants. It says that Adam was the father of Seth and Seth became the father of Enosh. Enosh became the father of Kenan. Kenan became the father of Mahalalel. Mahalalel became the father of Jared. Jared became the father of Enoch. Enoch became the father of Methuselah. Methuselah became the father of Lamech. Lamech became the father of Noah.

So there we have the genealogy from Adam to Noah. In Bible times everybody’s name meant something. And while there is some difference among authorities as to the meaning of these names, depending upon the root from which they are judged to be taken, it is a most interesting sequence of meanings. The list begins with Seth, which means “Appointed.” Seth’s son Enosh, means “Mortal;” and his son, Kenan, means “Sorrow.” Kenan’s son Mahalalel, means “The Blessed God.” Mahalalel named his son Jared which means “Came Down,” and his boy, Enoch, means “Teaching.” Enoch’s son, Methuselah means “His death shall bring.” Lamech means”Strength,” and Noah means “Comfort.”

Put that all together in one sentence and it says: God has appointed that mortal man shall sorrow; but the blessed God came down, teaching that His death shall bring strength and comfort.

What’s in a name? It could be more than one realizes. God has a much bigger picture than what we see. So here’s to all you “good names” out there. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all,” (Proverbs 22:1-2).

Anytime those commercials come on television for the electronic company with the name “LG” I always say to whoever is within hearing distance: “LG stands for Living Large.” We can live large if we want to – and I’m not talking about finances. I’m referring to a life of quality and meaning, pursuing fulfillment within – from a relationship with our Maker – of putting your hand to the plow and not looking back. You can live large.

“The Lord is good … He cares for those who trust in Him,” (Nahum 1:7). May God bless you.

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).