Do not focus on the present for it does not exist. It is not a reality. It is an illusion. It is not tangible for it is only in our minds. It never lasts. Rather focus on the future and become a symbol of that future in the present.

This is the message that SMMS President, Rev Prof Simangaliso Kumalo, delivered to the exiting seminarians during the Valedictory service, on 22 November.

“Ministry is about living your life today as if it is already in the future. The call to ministry is required to be lived and exercised in the present as if it is in the future when you will be given a crown which Saint Paul calls the ‘prize’. It is about wanting to live that glorious life that one finds when one is in union with God. The future starts now, in the here-and-now. You are called to live the future by acting it right now. The future is not distant; it has already arrived,” Prof Kumalo said.

Living such a life, he said, means one has to forget about their past.

He said, “We are reminded most of the time that ‘if you do not know your past, then you do not know where you are going’. That is not true at all. It is a lie. The truth is I can decide who I want to become without reference to my past. Let the future guide the present allowing the past to remain in the past. Never carry the past with you for it will pull you down and will not allow you to reach your full potential.  Forgetting the past is liberating oneself. Do not be imprisoned by the limitations that were placed on you by your past. Do not be a victim of your past. It does not matter how people start, what matters is how they finish.

“If we were all going to dwell in the past, thinking about it all the time, it would keep us prisoners for life. We would never move. Since you came to the seminary three years ago, you have had both good and bad times. Leave behind those things that will not help you to move forward. Do not be a prisoner of the past but be a subject of your future for the past does not make you a subject; it makes you an object that it controls, that it holds back. The past gives you a reason why you are not moving forward. It gives you a reason why you are always suffering and struggling while others are progressing. It gives you a reason to remain where you are.”

Instead of dwelling on the past, Prof Kumalo urged the seminarians to focus all the time on prize that is awaiting them in the future.

“Some of you resigned from very good jobs. Some were bank managers, others successful lawyers and others, Human Resources managers in reputable companies. Your future in those professions was bright. Yet you left all that in order to move on and focus on the prize that the lord will give you. When I listen to some of you speak, I can tell that you are actually controlled and ruled by that call that made you to come here. Ministry is about doing those things that make people question if you are still in your mind, to leave a well-paying job to come to be a student for three years!

“Your aim on this journey is not to satisfy the screening committee, your superintendent or your bishop. You are looking forward to the one who has called you to perfection so that one day when you get to him, he can open his arms and say ‘Welcome, you forgot all the glories of the earth and focussed your life on serving me. Here is your prize,’” Prof Kumalo said.