Graduation Blessing for a Firstborn Son

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(Presented here with the permission and blessing of my son.)

Son, you have given us so many firsts. The first time we learned we were going to be parents, it was because you were coming. The first time I felt helpless in a hospital room, it was during your birth. The first time your mom and I prayed over our children, that they would know, love, and walk with Jesus, we were in your room, praying for you. You were the first child we ever travelled with. You were the first kid we sent off to school. The first fever we nursed, the first cut we covered with a Band-Aid, and the first outgrown outfit we passed down were all yours. You were the first to try sports, to get an email address, to open a bank account, to play in the ocean, to hike in the mountains, to drive a car, and to get a cell phone. And now you are the first to graduate high school.

We are so proud of you. You are a joy to everyone in our family. Your mom and I adore you. Your sisters revere you and look up to you more than you know. Your grandparents marvel at your maturity and devastating good looks. We are all so proud of who you are, and who you are becoming.

You have deep character. You have a conscience in a day when moral clarity is becoming harder and harder to find. You possess a fierce loyalty to your friends. I pity the poor fool who would have to deal with you if they ever caused harm to your sisters. You work hard. You laugh a lot. You study enough to get by and take responsibility for your actions. You look for and can often find the humor in just about any situation.

As you graduate and prepare to head off to college, I want to speak this blessing over you.

Firstborn son, take your faith seriously. Take your relationship with Jesus seriously. Take scripture seriously. Take the local church seriously. Own your faith. Own your life—the minutes, hours, days, and seasons given to you. They are worth more than you can understand in your youth. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is and always has been. Explore the world. Explore the complexity of the people you know. Prefer faces to screens, conversations to texts, and time outside to hours locked away indoors.

May the love of Christ consume you. May the One who loves you and gave himself for you be the ever-deepening object of your love in return. May the Lord lead you well—to the people, decisions, places, and communities you are called to love, serve, and enjoy. May the Lord guard your heart and mind. And may you find deep rest for your soul in the truth that you are loved more than you could know by the One who created the heavens and the earth.

The promise of the gospel is that, because of the righteousness and sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, when we leave this earth and are united forever with our heavenly Father in glory, we will hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Here on the occasion of your graduation from High School, your mother and I cannot give you anything close to what your Heavenly Father can. But we can echo his words to maybe offer a small taste of the glory and joy that awaits you when this life is over. So, as you graduate high school, your mother and I offer these words: We love you and are so proud of you. Well done, good and faithful son. Well done.

Russ Ramsey
Russ Ramsey and his wife and four children make their home in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church and the author of Struck: One Christian's Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017), Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative (Rabbit Room Press, 2011) and Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Crossway, 2015). He is a graduate of Taylor University (1991) and Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv – 2000, ThM – 2003). Follow Russ on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

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