OCC senior Samantha MacIntyre spoke to faculty and staff at a recent personnel luncheon. Read her message below. We're so proud of Samantha and the 150+ other graduating seniors who have trained well for the kingdom assignment God has for them.
I am a movie buff. In fact, my friends once gave me the superlative award, "Most Likely to Have More DVDs than a Redbox." I’m the person who leans over during a movie and whispers, “Did you know...” and offers some random fact about the scene that I learned while watching the director’s commentary or reading an article. That’s me.
And while I have a wide range of films that I enjoy watching, my favorite movie has not changed since I was three years old: The Sound of Music. Growing up, I was obsessed with this movie, and my dream was to be Maria von Trapp. In fact, a few weeks ago, when I took senior pictures with a friend, I had the idea to take a few as Maria. Here is a picture of the queen herself, Julie Andrews...and here is 21-year-old Sam MacIntyre, living out her childhood dream.
When I saw this picture, I realized...I am Maria. I am in the same place that she was at this point in her story, and I identify so much with the lyrics she sings here.
Did you know that Maria was a real person? Movie buff that I am, I have not only visited her home in Austria, but I have also read a few of her autobiographies. When Maria entered college, she was an atheist. She spent most of her time in school trying to persuade others to abandon their faith. But just a few months before graduating, she was won over by Christ. Maria spent those last months frantically seeking out everyone she had turned away, and she tried to bring them back to Jesus.
After she graduated, Maria and her friends went on a trip to climb some of the surrounding mountains. Two days into their four-day trip, they came upon a breathtaking view. As she stood there taking it in, Maria knew that she needed to give Christ her whole life. She walked off that mountain right then, went into town, and asked to be pointed in the direction of the strictest abbey, because she knew she would need it in light of her rebellious spirit. After being at the abbey for some time, Maria was sent by the Mother Superior to tutor a local girl with six siblings and a widower for a father. That’s where we pick up in the movie.
As Maria begins to sing the song pictured here, she looks around at the place where she came to grow in love, knowledge, and likeness of Christ. And now, she was being sent out to serve. As she makes her journey to the family's house, Maria sings these words:
“What will this day be like? I wonder. What will my future be? I wonder. I have always longed for adventure. Now here I am facing adventure! Why am I so scared? I must stop these doubts--all these worries. I must dreams of the things I am seeking. I am seeking the courage I lack. The courage to serve them with reliance--face my mistakes without defiance. Let them bring on all their problems. I’ll do better than my best. I have confidence in me.”
I find myself in the same place. Here I am, looking around at this campus--this place where I've come for the last four years to grow in love, knowledge, and likeness of Christ. I, too, am being sent out to serve. I'm going to work with youth, so some of Maria's thoughts in these lyrics hit me hard. Three weeks from now I'll be in the car with my dad, driving off to start a residency, and I'm wondering, "What will my future be?" And like Maria, while being a little scared, I have confidence. Maria says, “I have confidence in me.” To that I say, yes and no.
Yes, I have confidence in me. I have been trained well at Ozark Christian College. I am confident that I can put together a good scope and sequence, thanks to Dr. Teresa Welch and Peter Buckland. I'm confident that I can plan trips and retreats and lead a great youth ministry, thanks to Kevin Greer. I am confident that I can keep my head above water when students come to me in their hurt, thanks to Dr. Gary Zustiak. I'm confident that I can exegete Scripture well, thanks to Doug Welch, Chad Ragsdale, Jim Dalrymple, Gerald Griffin, and so many others. I'm confident that I can communicate the truth of that text, thanks to Beth DeFazio and Dr. Mark Scott. I'm confident that I can serve in worship ministry, thanks to Matt Stafford and Isaac Schade. You have trained me well. I am confident in my ability to perform the tasks I will face in ministry.
And, no. I don’t have confidence in me. I have been trained well here, so my confidence lies less in me, and far more in the One who is sending me. And for that, I'd like to thank all of you. Thank you for every day living out Seth Wilson's words--"Who we teach you to love is more important than what we teach you to know." Those words are more than just a saying to you. Thank you for showing me that you care far more about me knowing God than about me knowing the right answers on a test. Thank you for showing more care for me as your sister in Christ than as just another paper to grade. Thank you for leading by example in going about all things in prayer, reverence, and submission to Christ. Thank you for helping this truth sink in: that as I leave here, I don't go do all these things you've trained me to do in my own power. Thank you for teaching me that it is, in fact, not about me. It is all about Christ.
So, now I go. Physically, I will likely look like Maria, carrying a guitar in one hand and a suitcase in the other. But really, I leave with a Bible in one hand and a basin in the other. I'm going, "not to be served but to serve." I am going to teach others to love Christ, as you have so faithfully taught me these last four years. Thank you.