Greg Hatteberg, the Dean of Alumni services, closed our Dallas Seminary breakfast giving away door prizes. “Who knows the Spanish meaning of the term Alamo?” (The Evangelical Theological Society was in San Antonio.) “What was the original name of the San Antonio Spurs, and what is an alternative name for the popular River Walk flowing through the heart of the city?” Greg asked the questions and then threw out sweatshirts, coffee mugs, drink holders, etc. to the winners.
The game continued, “All of you who teach Old Testament stand up.” Men and women stood up around the room. Then Greg started counting up through the years of service from five years until he got up to the longest tenure—over fifty years. The professor who had hung in there teaching students all that time got a blanket to keep him warm.
What struck me as I looked at all those Hebrew professors is how different those beginning their careers looked from the prof who won the prize, and as they took their seats I noticed the bald heads, humped shoulders, hearing aids, and canes. It’s at conferences like ETS where we reconnect with colleagues we haven’t seen for a while that we are face to face with the signs of aging and decay. (If you’ve gone to one of your high school reunions, you know the feeling.) The ravages of time hit you, and it gets depressing.
There is one Jew, however, that King David talked about a thousand years before Jesus came to earth who never experienced the decay of aging and the corruption of death. David wrote about him in Psalm 16:8-11 and the Apostle Peter quoted him in Acts 2 for his second point in his sermon.
“For David says about him, ‘I saw the Lord before me always, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore, my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced, even more my flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to hades or allow your Holy One to see decay. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will fill me with your gladness when I am face to face in your presence.’” Acts 2:25-28
Today, Jesus, David’s Son and God’s Son, is at God’s right hand. He did die, but the grave couldn’t keep hold of him. He rose and he promises that because I trust in him, I don’t need to fear aging and death. He’s going to stop the decay.
I don’t look like I did forty-one years ago when I graduated from Dallas Seminary, but Jesus promises that I’ll look far better in the future when He gives me a new body like His glorious, resurrection body. There’s not a trainer on earth who can produce those kinds of results.
LORD, thanks for the encouragement of seeing colleagues in their eighties who were still reading papers, mentoring students, and seeking to teach Your truth. Pour Your gladness and joy into my heart today as I rest in Your power to stop the decay.
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