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Friday, April 15, 2005

Exalted, not flattered

My University, Southern Wesleyan, has found a number of ways to honor me, as my full-time employment there draws to a close.

Ravi Zacharias once noted that God knows how to exalt us without flattering us, and to humble us without humiliating us. Jill Carattini, "Like Water Spilled," A Slice of Infinity (Ravi Zacharias Ministries Blog) April 5, 2005

Tuesday, as the first chapel announcement, the yearbook's editor told us that the current issue was ready, and that it was dedicated to me, and I received a copy. Someone (probably her) had arranged for some alumni to write words of appreciation. Someone had gone back through forty years of previous yearbooks and found a few shots of me when I had more hair, and darker. There were a couple of pictures from this year, each taken by a student I have had--I remember when they took them, and I knew they were for the annual, but I didn't know they would end up in the dedication--thanks, ladies. The editor, herself, had written an appreciation, which is especially meaningful, as she is as good a student as I have had in my time here, and I have had her in several classes.

Last Friday, when I asked my wife where she wanted us to eat (she makes these decisions) she named a restaurant where we have eaten only twice, and named a time later than we usually eat. I thought nothing of these strange choices. We went to Anderson, SC, and I sat in the car and graded papers while she shopped, then we went to the restaurant. When I went to the receptionist to check in, my Division Chair appeared and informed me that we were already part of a group. My eight colleagues, and their spouses, treated us to a meal, a card, and a check which will go a long way toward purchasing either a digital camera or a camcorder. They also said some very nice things.

In December, I was asked to give one of our commencement addresses, and given an honorary degree. My wife, a brother and his wife, my wife's two brothers, a sister-in-law, and two nephews took the time to sit through a long ceremony for people they didn't know, because I was being honored. Last month, I was asked to speak in chapel, a rare invitation for an instructor--usually we feature our President, our chaplain, invited guests, or ministerial students. (The previous links are what I consider to have been the most important parts of these addresses.)

(I would like to name all these people, but have decided that it is better not to embarrass anyone, or give out personal information on living people, in this blog. If any of you mentioned above read this, thanks!)

I understand that, in a sense, I am taking it out of context, but one of my favorite Bible phrases is part of Esther 6:6, which says "What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor?" (ASV, which is public domain)

I am grateful to my University for the honors bestowed on me, and any further honors that may come. I am grateful to the people who have worked and paid for the honors. I am grateful to God for giving me this long opportunity, and sorry that I haven't used it better. Psalm 84:11, the verse that inspired the title of this blog, says that God does not withhold any good thing from those who are righteous, and that He gives glory. I don't think I feel flattered by any of this, but exalted.


John Dekker said...


They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him." (Psalm 92:12-15)

Brandy said...

You deserve all of it Dr. LaBar. It has been a true honor having you as a professor these last four years. I've enjoyed all three of the classes I've had with you. What has always impressed me was that every single place or time I saw you, you always greeted me and had something very nice to say. I have also always been impressed by the fact that you find such joy learning new things, no matter what field, and it is absolutely amazing how updated you stay on current issues and technology. I've learned so much from you and I thank you. There are going to be a lot of students who are going to miss out by not having you at SWU in the future.

Laura said...

Congratulations! You were one of my favorite professors at SWU. I can say that I learned a lot from you (& am still learning from your blogs). I count myself lucky to have been one of your students.

Grasshopper said...

Dr. LaBar,
You are such an awesome man of God and I sincerely count it a privilege to have known you and also to have you as a professor.
By the way, I just realized today that you have been reading my blogger! : )
Thanks for everything!

April said...

Dr. LaBar, there is so much I can say! You are such an excellent truly found your calling. You have helped me so much through education, sharing God's word, and your compassion for others. Your knowlegde is great, but what makes you much greater is how you help others. I can remember countless times you would sit down with me and other students to go through every type of physics problem there was the day before the test. You strive to be like Christ, and for that alone you are to be exalted! You have truly helped to shape my life! Thank you, Dr. LaBar!!