In the spirit of the Christmas season, Francois Vosloo arrived bearing a gift for each of the more than 200 fall graduates of Palm Beach Atlantic University on Saturday.
“This key represents your life, and there are a few things I want to say to you about this, your life,” Vosloo said. Vosloo, who spent nearly four decades in service to the Christian organization Operation Mobilisation, presented each graduate with a key. At the start of his commencement address at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, he asked the graduates to hold up their key.
First of all, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made,” he said “Before the foundation of this world, you were planned, born for a time like this.”
Secondly, “you are unique. No one else is like you. Your key is unique,” he said, adding that “you have been shaped,” and “many of those who have been involved in your shaping are here today.”
He said the students have been shaped in four areas, similar to the ways in which Jesus was shaped: character, wisdom, favor with God and favor with man.
“I want to encourage you remain like clay in the hand of the master, to continuously be shaped.”
Vosloo said that as the graduating class of 2016, “you have the potential as one class to transform the entire world.”
He also cautioned about what not to do in the future. First, “never compare yourself with somebody else,” he said. “Comparison is one of the most deadly sins.”
Next, “be patient,” he said. “The Father waited 30 years before he started using the key of (Jesus’) life to unlock the hearts of millions and change the whole course of history.”
Lastly, he said that God will use each person’s life to unlock doors. Behind those doors are people in desperate need, he said.
“I want to ask you not to go and unlock those doors, and for that matter any door, for what you can gain from it,” he said. “Greed Street is a dead-end street. You will never accumulate enough if you are going to pursue greed through this key.”
Vosloo encouraged the graduates to love everyone and reminded them that the love they have for their fellow man is in direct correlation to their love for God.
He concluded with a reading of The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto by Mark Batterson. The manifesto opens: “Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Run to the roar.”
Vosloo said that the students have a choice regarding their key: Either hold on to it or hand it over to God, knowing that “with you, God, we can go and unlock doors to transform lives and communities.”
Along with Vosloo, two of this semester’s Outstanding Graduates offered words of inspiration to the class.
It is often said that college is the best time of a person’s life, said Katrina Dawe, the Outstanding Graduate of the School of Communication and Media. However, “you are not a finished product,” the public relations major said. “God is not done yet. There is still so much more of life to experience. The best is yet to come.”
Michael McDonald, the Outstanding Graduate of the School of Ministry, reminded his fellow graduates to follow Christ’s example by being at peace and being present at all times.
“Just be present and note the beauty and truth right around you here today,” he said.
Others on the program included the Bill Mitchell, senior pastor of Boca Raton Community Church, who offered the invocation; West Palm Beach Mayor Dr. Jeri Muoio, who gave the greeting; PBA Global Development Program Director Dr. Craig Hanson, who introduced the speaker; and Campus Pastor Dr. Bernie Cueto, who gave the benediction.