Every year when the commencement season comes, the mass media introduces the commencement speeches of celebrities. Personally, I sense that among the graduation speeches so far, the speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University in 2005 was the most impressive. The title of his speech was “Connecting the dots.” He convincingly conveyed the message through his own experience that all the things in the past were all precious thingswhich made him existat the time. Another example is the speech I heard at the graduation ceremony of my youngest child. Michael Dubin, a successful businessman and the CEO of the Dollar Save Club, reiterated the phrase that “Let people help you!” many times, emphasizing human relationships. At that time, a thought stroke me. ‘Ah, God took care of my daughter in that way!’
In July 2013, my wife and I moved to the Korean United Methodist Church of South Florida, and our daughter, who had just entered 12th grade, was left in Detroit. Leaving my daughter alone in Detroit always remained in our hearts as a burden. When I heard Dubin’s speech, however, I thought that“Ah, God sent a helper to our daughter, Ye-jin, and she was able to finish her study successfully.”At the same time, I prayed that my daughter would be more prepared and become a helper to the people God entrusts.
It is a blessed thing to be able to help someone, and God has even given the promise of blessing to such a person.“… Then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deuteronomy 15:10). Perhaps in this regard, the story of Abraham who unwittingly greeted angels would be a representative example. On a very hot day, while Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent, he happened to see three strangers. Then he got up right away and went up to them and said: “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a litttle water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under the tree” (Genesis 18:3-4). Here, Abraham’s service was a selfless good deed that he did,in the light of the circumstances of strangers who came to his village on a hot day. By the way, owing to the incident, Abraham received a completely unexpected promise from the Lord. “Then, the Lord said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.’ Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him”(Genesis 18:10).
Sarah, who had been listening to their conversation behind the tent door, was not at all enthusiastic. Furthermore, her reaction was cynical and even negative. “Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, ‘After I am worn out, and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?’… Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’” (Genesis 18: 12-13). Sarah did not realize the difference between the words “having” a son and “giving birth to” a son. First of all, the subject of the phrase, “will give birth to a son” is a person. Giving birth to a child is not ‘God’s work.’ It is ‘Sarah’s work.’ On the other hand, the subject of the phrase, “will have a child” is God, meaning that God will give a child to Sarah. This means that God will open Sarah’s womb, so that she can give birth to a son. Thus, Sarah’s ability is not needed at all for her to have a son. The fact that Sarah is old, and the fact that her period has terminated… none of these things matter. However, Sarah tried to understand the Word of God, but did not realize it, because she wasconfined to her physical limitations. What God wants to see in us is ‘trust,’ not ‘doubt.’ Translated by Elder, Ky-Hyang Yuhn