By Michael McEwen
Last Friday, two hundred students were awarded degrees as part of the spring 2012 graduation ceremonies May 18 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
One hundred and seventy graduates received their master’s or doctoral degrees, and thirty graduated with associate or bachelor’s degrees. The graduates came from eighteen states and two foreign countries.
Dr. Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave a charge to the graduates. He preached from Mark 14:1-11, conveying the message, “A Sacrifice of Extravagant Love.” Akin commenced with the question: “Have you ever in your life as a follower of King Jesus ever made a sacrifice of extravagant love?”“
The fact of the matter is,” said Akin, “we’re good at giving Jesus our leftovers and our ‘hand-me-downs.’ In this passage from Mark, we see a woman who gives her best and so should we.”
Akin noted that Christians’ sacrifices are to always be public, proclaiming Christ as King. Like the woman in verses one to fourteen, “Christians are to be at Jesus’ feet, worshiping him, loving him, and confessing him publicly.”
Akin also reminded the graduates that their extravagant sacrifices would be criticized by both believers and non-believers. The disciples in Mark 14:4-5 criticized the woman for her beautiful gift to Christ Jesus. Akin said, “Not only will your sacrificial acts be criticized, but they will be remembered by some. The fact that Jesus says ‘wherever the gospel is preached in the world, this woman will also be remembered’ is evidence of her memorialized extravagant act.”
In a serious moment that closed the message, Akin confessed that each day he looks in the mirror, he feels more like the traitor Judas than the loving and obedient Mary. “Considering that some of you are heading overseas as missionaries, some of you to pastorates, and others in leadership positions in the church,” Akin said, “remember that some people find Jesus useful because they can use him; other people find Jesus beautiful, because they understand him. Please graduates be of the latter.”
After Akin’s message, the diplomas were awarded to the graduates, and a closing prayer commissioned the students to continue serving the church and fulfilling the Great Commission wherever the Lord calls them.
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.