Wear Sunscreen!

In one of the most famous graduation speeches we heard the words...

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ‘98: Wear sunscreen. 

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.


I didn’t graduate in 98, but I've heard the speech, and the song, and read the newspaper article it was stolen from enough times that you would think I know that I should wear sunscreen. But Monday while floating down the Blackwater with the teens I did not wear enough sunscreen. The results? The worst sunburn I've had since I was a kid. 

Wear sunscreen is one of the most stupidly simple pieces of advice you could ever give, and yet I still managed to forget it and it hurts. But it reminds me a lot of Jesus’s words. When asked what the greatest commandments were he said love God and love your neighbor. I may have shortened it a bit more but it’s also a stupidly simple message. If we want to be like Jesus we only need to love God and love people. And yet no matter how many times I’ve heard that, read it, or heard other people talk about it I still don’t love God the way I’m supposed to and I don’t love people like God does. The results? Lots of hurts. 

If I was a little more philosophical I could probably point out all the ways that not loving others actually hurts me instead, but it’s not supposed to be about me to begin with. What I do know is that not loving others definitely hurts those I don’t love. And by not loving God with my everything I do myself harm. And while it doesn’t physically hurt God, it’s got to be incredibly painful for him to watch his beloved creation rebel against him when he knows we were meant for so much more. 

So my advice is to wear sunscreen, because sun burns hurt, and love God and your neighbors, because sunscreen doesn’t work in hell. 

Nathan Persell serves as our Youth Director. When he's not leading devotions and playing basketball with teenagers, he enjoys disc golf and bike riding. Learn more about Nathan here.