Southern Baptist Convention president and pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland Ed Litton challenged the University of Mobile Class of 2022 to pursue greatness — not as the world defines it, but as God does.
Litton delivered the commencement address at the Baptist-affiliated university on May 7. More than 3,500 family and friends gathered on campus at the Lackey Great Commission Lawn to celebrate 320 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral graduates.
Ted Mashburn, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and currently the university’s longest-serving faculty member, carried the ceremonial mace and led the procession of faculty and graduates. The university presented its prestigious Weaver Awards to the top two graduates, Avery Wilhite and Grace Whittington.
After receiving diplomas, UM’s newest alumni participated in the university’s Great Commission Tradition by touching the Great Commission Globe to represent going out into the world to make an impact for Christ.
UM President Lonnie Burnett introduced commencement speaker Dr. Litton as his pastor and friend of 28 years.
“He officiated at my daughter’s wedding, but also at my father’s funeral. I was in Nashville when he was elected president of the SBC, and at the hospital the night his wife Tammy died. He is my friend and our speaker because I have seen this man on the mountaintop and in the valley — and he has served the same God in both places,” Burnett said.
‘Greatness found in redemption’
Litton urged graduates to live by God’s definition of greatness — greatness that is self-forgetful, serves others and is found in redemption.
“The problem comes when we desire greatness apart from God, or we define greatness apart from God,” he said.
He said graduates are entering “a world where people want you to self-define, where people want to define you. … You must have a definition that’s based on the truth of God’s word.”
“Who does God say you are? He says you are precious, He says you are His creation, He says you are beloved. He says I sent my Son to die for you, I’ve given my Spirit to infill you. That your life might have meaning and purpose beyond recognitions, beyond achievements, beyond greatness in any human definition.”
Litton told graduates that all service to God is redemptive in nature.
“God uses us to serve others that we might remind them, tell them or even instruct them that God loves them, and that God wants to save them. No matter what your career may be, God wants you to play a part in His redemptive plan for others,” he said.
“My challenge to you today is to take up your cross and follow Christ. Greatness is before you. Live by His definition of greatness, and you will see the hand of God answer prayer, move in your lives, and this can be a better world because of it,” Litton concluded.
To watch the full video of graduation, click here. To view a complete list of graduates, click here.
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