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.