This has always been an issue for me.
I am sitting here in a Starbucks, two blocks from one of the most recognized symbols in the world – the United States Capital Building. I can actually see the Capital Dome from my window to the left. Yesterday we got a private tour of the Capital from a US congressman. It was pretty cool. At the end of the tour, as everyone was leaving, Congressman Randy Forbes came to me and shook my hand. I was a little older than the rest of the group and had on a tie and jacket, so I supposed he recognized my dressing a little different than the rest of the college students. He knew we were a group from Regent University. I stopped for 30 seconds and said hello, and briefly told him who I was.
This has always been an issue for me. What should I tell him? I’m a husband, father of five beautiful children, minister, entrepreneur, business professor and soon-to-be chair of a brand new department in the School of Undergraduate Studies. This week I have been a van driver, runner, errand boy, leader of dinner prayer, coffee maker and whatever else needed to be done. I came to be a servant, and not to be Chair of anything. I think I did OK with this, but I continue to struggle when with people of influence and power. I want these people to know that I am a person of influence and power too, and isn’t that nice that I can come along on a trip with students as well. I am now being factitious.
I have forgotten the most important thing: I am an adopted child of God, a reflection of God’s great redemption. If God could save me, then He could save anyone. And if He can continue to forgive me and redeem my futile efforts, well then there is hope for everyone, if we are willing to forsake all the trappings of this former life and realize that our dependence must be on Christ alone (Phil 3:7 – But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ). This is the only way it works – no other connections or status symbols matter.
In a great article from this past week, football star and former Dallas Cowboy Troy Hambrick recounts his former stardom in a story that describes his current life, working his way back from Federal Prison and drug abuse and addiction to a semblance of a normal life. All his former glory is gone, as well as his money and influence. But he still has his family. One interesting point in the article occurred when Hambrick was sentenced. The US District Judge told Hambrick that, “I know you are the type of person who will regain your rightful place with your family, your friends and your community.” Hambrick was a first-time offender, a husband and a father of four young daughters. These were the things that mattered, and the things that gave Hambrick the motivation to overcome the tremendous odds against him to make something useful out of this once promising life. Find the full story here – http://ec2-50-16-126-62.compute-1.amazonaws.com/news/humaninterest/ex-dallas-cowboy-troy-hambrick-seeks-redemption-after-leaving-prison/1216594.
I shook Congressman’s Forbes’ hand and told him my name (no title) and that I taught Business at our University. He thanked me for coming and showed a genuine interest in me, for the few moments that we stood together in the great rotunda under the Capital Dome. I was touched that this man of power and influence made me feel like my effort to come and visit with him and our students that day was appreciated. I am hopeful that I can capture these precious things that I have learned this week and apply them to my life as we return from this experience and head back to our normal lives.
I want to recall and be reminded of all that the Lord has shown me this week (2 Peter 1:12-15) and continue to remind those students with whom I will connect. I pray and hope that I can have a positive influence in our University which impacts both our current and future students. But I also want to demonstrate God’s love to my beautiful wife by being sensitive to her needs, and happily doing those mundane tasks around the house. I am a husband and father, a professor grateful for the opportunity to teach and love and lead my students. I am a transformed child of God, grateful that He heard my cry and offered His redemption to me (see Psalm 77). I am grateful to God that He knows who I am, and this is enough for me.