The charge from Liberty’s 41st Baccalaureate Service keynote speaker Eric Metaxas was simple: “Follow Jesus.”
“Knowing that you are His and living that way is the only way that you can ever really enjoy life,” the acclaimed author and Christian intellectual told the crowd.
Metaxas’ eclectic career has included writing humor pieces, children’s books, and scripts for VeggieTales, as well as best-selling books, including “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.” The Yale University alumnus is also a prolific speaker and commentator for radio and television.
Metaxas told the graduates that life has purpose, and God is ordering every step.
“Whatever you do when you leave this place, God has invited you into a grand adventure to be a soldier in His war against the forces of darkness. Whatever you are going to be doing is ultimately what you were meant to be doing,” Metaxas said. “You are meant to be a part of His church, His bride, His army of sons and daughters marching under His banner in the grand and eternal war against evil, using the holy weapons of love.”
The entire service emboldened graduates to live out the Great Commission as they pursue excellence in their careers.
President Jerry Falwell acknowledged the influential role Metaxas has played in this endeavor, calling him one of America’s foremost advocates for religious liberty. Metaxas was then presented with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.
In his speech, Metaxas explained that life is short, and although humanity was created by God to exist outside of time, we are to redeem the time we have on earth to do God’s work.
“You really cannot serve Jesus unless you are bold,” he said. “You cannot — you must not — ever let the voices of intolerance and hate make you believe the crazy lie that you are the voice of intolerance and hate. Just speak the truth in love and trust God with the details.”
He added that if we are offering Jesus and what He stands for to the world, then there is nothing to apologize for; Jesus is what the soul truly longs for.
The stakes are much higher than simply being liked or having nonprofit status removed from your church, he said.
“There is a great, grand, eternal, infinitely meaningful war between good and evil,” he explained. “God invites us to participate. And rest assured, He has a part in it for every single one of you. Will you accept it? Will you trust Him? Or do you have another part in mind? You want to be the star of another show?”
As he closed, Metaxas had the crowd repeat with him in unison the name above all names, the hope of the universe, the summation of everything: “Jesus.”
Following his message, which received a standing ovation, Metaxas said he loves visiting Liberty’s campus, is impressed with the beautiful architecture, and considered it an honor and joy to speak at Baccalaureate. He said he is glad to see Liberty’s success because so many institutions are moving away from the values Liberty holds dear.
“Standing for what you stand for and being so successful at it — evidenced by the fact that you are thriving — on the one hand makes me happy. On the other hand it is a sign to all the detractors of those values that maybe they are missing something.”