Lessons learnt and taught

Spirit

Encouragement & exhortation

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We all know the idiom “time flies”. But we experience it as a reality too. It’s been 45 years since I first stepped into SBC, which was as a student. Since then, I’ve spent two other pockets of time here: as staff (ten years) and faculty (19 years). Now, I am retiring as full-time faculty but will continue as an adjunct. 

I am thankful for these years of ministries, including the privilege of serving at church and teaching at Dallas Theological Seminary. There are many things I have done, taught, and learnt over these years. Let me review three of them using the acronym FAT—Faithful. Available. Teachable.

Faithful. Paul’s exhortation to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15 NASB) is my end goal. Together with being responsible in all that has been entrusted, it’s about learning and working toward being faithful to God in His Word and Work. For this, I am reminded by this lesser-known quote from Hudson Taylor: “A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in little things is a great thing.”  

I teach and try to exemplify faithfulness even in such areas as the observance of time. As the self-appointed SOTE chapel timekeeper, I remind students on the importance of keeping to their given time. No matter how important a message may be, once we overshoot the time limit, people tune out. They will be thinking of their next appointment. No matter how good our message is, we’ve lost the impact it can have when our audience is no longer listening.  

Available. My goal and philosophy in life is this: Love God, His Word, and people, and love people by teaching them to love God and His Word. Jesus in John 21 recommissioned Peter, who had denied Him, to tend His lambs and feed His sheep. I have been and hope to continue to be available to shepherd and feed the flock that God puts in my path with my time. Ministry is not a 9-to-5 job. It is a 24-7 responsibility. Being available when someone needs me is important. 

It’s all right if people think I am a fool, because I am a fool for Christ.

Teachable. The writer of Proverb 9:9 says, “Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning”. As a learner before God, I must be teachable. 

 This L-plate is what I use to remind myself and my students to be lifelong learners: whether in the classroom, in our own time with God, or from someone else. It doesn’t have to be scholastic learning but, more importantly, the learning and application of God’s Word to a changed life.

There must be a continuous willingness to learn from the Bible, theology, even technology. 

As I serve beyond my official retirement years, I remind myself and all who are reading this to heed Jesus’ words: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Don’t get sidetracked with other attractions. 

 


 

FOR REFLECTION

In what way are you or are you not keeping God’s commandments? It’s not too late to change.

 

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