Last week I officially graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. The occasion marked a significant milestone in my journey. As with most portions of my journey, this one was long and jagged. I wanted to quit many times; in fact, I did quit three different times. But in the end I’m glad I went through the process, and I’m glad to be done. The president of the seminary said the graduates had been equipped to be leaders in God’s Church, to teach the truth of His Word around the world. If this is true, I ought to be able to state at least a few of the truths I’ve learned – at least some of what I believe to be essential for those who are called to lead.
The first truth is that there is always more to learn. During my seminary time I continually learned how little I really know. I thought I knew quite a bit about the Bible before I started seminary, but each class taught me there is so much more I do not know. And even after completing my seminary education I leave with an understanding that my education will never end, and it will certainly never be complete. The pursuit of knowing God is a lifetime endeavor: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33).
The second truth is that as we learn we must always maintain a deep spirit of humility: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” (Romans 8:1-2). There are many, many people scattered throughout what we might call our “christian” society (that’s christian with a small “c”) who think they know something but are really just puffed up to the point where they cannot see where they are going, let alone have any ability to lead others. The unfortunate result is great divisions and lack of unity. Perhaps the first step in bringing unity back to the Body of Christ is a humble recognition that we do not yet know as we ought to know.
The third truth is directly related to the second in that we must learn to embrace the uncertainty and live within the mystery of God. When I entered seminary I was certain about a large number of “truths.” After many, many hours of study and many more hours of pondering, I am much less certain. There were seasons where this really bothered me – bothered me a lot! – but I have come to a point where being certain is not the most important thing. I can love God and seek to live as Jesus taught me to live without needing to be certain about many of the details.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is much more I would like to write but I’ve run out of space so let me close with this: There is an overriding call in God’s Word for the body of Christ to live in unity. If I am to be a leader then I plan to lead with a spirit of unity and with the above list at the head of necessary truths.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries