“What do you want from me, anyway?”
Sometimes this is the question of a student in trouble or one exasperated by high expectations. But sometimes it’s the question of a senior, facing the future, and wondering about life after Westmont.
Fair question. Here’s the answer. I want 10 things: Gaede’s 10 expectations of a Westmont graduate, from a Westmont graduate.
1. I expect you to leave. You came to Westmont to be honed and crafted, to be changed, so that you might be different, and your work might be better. Westmont is not your destination; it’s your launching pad.
2. I expect you to be different — different from when you came but also different from those who are graduating from other colleges and universities. Not just smarter, but wiser. Not just more knowledgeable, but more thoughtful about the knowledge you have gained.
We live in times when the gap between what is known and understood is as large as any time in history. Knowledge we have in abundance; but understanding eludes us at every turn.
What’s the link between knowledge and wisdom? It is responsibility and having the courage to take responsibility for what you know and apply it to your life and your living.
3. I expect you to be known for something unusual: your love for one another. Because that’s how Jesus said you would be able to recognize his followers. You will encounter fellow Christians at every station in life — rich and poor, successful and on the ropes, from every nation and every tongue and every tribe. And I expect that you will love them, regardless of their politics or position or predicament.
4. I expect you to be everywhere and everything — not individually, but as a group. We don’t train people for certain types of careers. We grow them for anyplace and anytime that God wishes to use them. I expect you not only to love your brothers and sisters in every nation and every tribe, but also to be in every nation and every tribe, as well as every career and every service.
5. I expect you to sin. I don’t want you to sin, but I expect you to sin, and I expect you to learn from it. There are two types of people: those who sin and those who learn from sin.
In every one of your courses you have learned about the consequences of sin. It destroys lives, it deceives people, and it leads to death. You know that, and I expect it to make a difference in how you live.
6. I expect you to ask great questions, not just to give great answers. Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus asked? If you are following him, you know that the questions just keep coming. Jesus does a lot of teaching through questions.
But questions are also a good way of learning. I expect a Westmont graduate to be a perpetual student. Your love of learning ought to mark you when you leave.
7. I expect a Westmont grad to love the truth with a passion and to fervently and passionately seek it in every discipline, in every career, in every culture, and in every circumstance without flinching. Delight in the truth without reservation; embrace the truth without fear. I expect it to make you a person known for your love. If it doesn’t — if it makes you arrogant or conceited or full of yourself instead — you took the wrong path, and the truth is not in you.
8. I expect Westmont graduates to be the greatest lovers of all time and to have learned to love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength. That should be the very ground of your being out of which comes a renewed mind, a transformed heart, a satisfied soul, and the strength to employ one’s whole life for the purposes God intended.
9. I expect you to live life whole, which won’t be easy. We have heart Christians, who think true worship is feeling a certain way. And we have head Christians, who think true worship is thinking certain thoughts. And we have hand Christians, for whom true worship means doing certain things and acting in certain ways. They are all right — and all wrong.
There is not a shred of evidence in the Bible — not a shred — that one can separate head from heart from hands. A heart transformed by the love of Christ seeks understanding; it aches to know the truth. That’s why your heart led you to Westmont in the first place. And a mind that gets even a glimpse of the truth melts the heart and moves the hands to action.
10. I expect you to come back. And when you do, I expect to be grateful for who you are and for what God has accomplished through you.