Articles From the July 1995 Unification News
Divinity Graduate Response - What Are We Going To Do?
by Jerry Chesnut
As you look at our graduates, you can see that we come from many different cultures. Each culture has its own wisdom tradition, its famous quotations to guide human lives.
There is one quotation that surely exists in some form or another in every culture. I will paraphrase it as follows: "Wisdom comes from the mouths of little children." Not a very comforting or appropriate thought for a 46-year-old, middle-aged divinity student, like myself, at the threshold of his future-who knows very well that if he reads every book of famous quotations that has ever been published, he will not find even one quotation which associates wisdom with being middle- aged or with being a divinity student. And we all know where theologians and ministers end up in the afterlife, if we're to believe men like Dante and Swedenborg. Well, with all that in mind, I wondered what I could say on this occasion to bring hope to myself and my fellow graduates.
My five-year-old son is a brave young man. I say that because he has to sleep next to me every night, enduring sharp, bony knees and elbows that my wife said could split diamonds. This morning, my son snuggled up to me in bed and asked, "Are you graduating today, daddy?" "Yes, I am." Staring into my eyes, he said, "So now what are you going to do?"
Fellow graduates, Masters of Divinity and Religious Education: so now what are we going to do?
The most optimum scenario gives me about 30 more productive years of life on this earth. Some of you may have 40 or 50 more years. My son's question has become a very serious one for me. What can I manifest in just thirty years?
Thirty years: that's 10,950 days. If I save just $10 a day for 30 years, that's $109,500. If I invest it from the beginning at 10%, that's a good chunk of money in 30 years. With that kind of money and a lot of dedication, I might be able to save the physical and spiritual lives of many people in a nation with a monthly wage of, say, $50. I could still have enough left over to educate and train my son to become a highly-skilled holy man or the holy president of a large organization or, hey, the holy president of a nation. Think of how many people I'd be helping then! And what if my son, the president, influences three other presidents? And what it, what if I live my life every moment as thought it were not merely three- dimensional, but four-dimensional? In other words, what if I stand every moment with one foot in this world and one in the next, building eternal treasure in the hereafter through the relationships I build on earth with God, True Parents and human beings; and eternal treasure on earth through the son that I raise and the people I save whose descendants will multiply forever and ever.
Remember God's promise to Abraham. Remember Jesus' unmarried life of only 33 years, and how many millions of people he continues to influence 2000 years later. And nobody even knows what he looked like. You, however, are being videotaped right at this moment, standing in a completed testament era with God and True Parents.
Ladies and gentlemen, the question that is burning in the hearts of each graduate here today is: how much love and goodness can I squeeze out of myself before I die? How much can I overcome that terrifying tendency that I have to ignore the hidden and sometimes unbearable sorrow that lies behind God and each person that has lived for a time on this earth?
Yes, many of the graduates here this morning, including myself, are worrying about how they're going to pay off their debts, or fix their teeth, or sell off all their furniture, or protect their family from the dangers of a missionary's life, but you can be sure that every graduate here is mostly worrying about how to accomplish the very noble purposes that love dictates and that God and the founders of this seminary have planted in our hearts.
We have eternity to look forward to, but only a few years left to set its foundations. Good luck, graduates. I look forward to reading your e-mail letters soon, from all over the world, in broken English. And perhaps, someday, you'll be smiling in Africa as you read my broken French or in Korea as you read my broken Korean. But, please, let's try to keep in touch. It's not by accident that we have been here together. May God bless each one of you. And I'll see you out there.
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