Commissioning: A testimony from the 2019 Silver Star Banquet

By Jon Tollerud, Cadet –

Matthew 13:45-46 says: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Jesus is speaking about how God cherishes us so much, he gave everything to reconcile us to him. Jesus sacrificed himself so that we could have forgiveness and be in fellowship with God. That atonement has given us new life and new meaning. Just as the merchant sold everything he had to obtain the pearl, God gave everything for us because we are pearls of great price.

In my life, I have amazing parents. Parents who embodied this idea of sacrificing everything for those they loved. My parents showed their children that family was a priority. There were many times their work would demand time of them, many times there were burdens on them we would know nothing about. However, they had set family as a priority in their life. They showed this priority to us in tangible ways. Dad would take us to Denny’s on Saturday mornings for breakfast. Mom would make sure that she was home after school. If that meant putting off a meeting or bringing their work home so that they could be with us, they did it. They would come to our band concerts and make us laugh, they would pick us up after school when it was snowing. They would include us in decisions about God’s direction in our family’s life. They made sure that despite how often we rolled our eyes, we did devotions every night. They showed their children that we are pearls of great price.

The Messengers of Compassion have been given advice, counsel, instruction and prayer from many people in our lives. I personally can think of many people who I can say were instrumental in helping me realize God’s calling. At this time, however, we want to honor those who have spoken into our lives in a deeper way. This is why you are here tonight. You have all made investments in to our lives that have shown us that we are worthy. You have challenged us to accept God’s call in our lives. You have encouraged us when we cried, you have embraced us, you have listened to us complain about rules, homework and people, and reminded us that there is growth. You have been there when we have felt like walking away because it’s hard and have helped celebrate the joys in our journey. There are no words, no awards that would do justice to the support you have given us and the love you have shown us. Your investment in our lives has shown us exactly what God sees in us, a pearl of great price.

This evening we reflect on your love and say thank you. Thank you for all of the time, effort, talent, treasure, encouragement, understanding, challenge and compassion you have shown us. Thank you for being willing to listen to God in your lives and speak into the lives of the Messengers of Compassion. You have shown us a glimpse of what it will be like in the presence of God. You have embodied his spirit and truth to us on earth as it is in heaven.

The Messengers of Compassion are now called to go out and do exactly what you have done for us. It is now our turn to go out and speak into people’s lives with words and actions as you did ours. We must now show others that they also are pearls of great price in God’s eyes and ours.

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