There is a pivotal moment in The Hobbit in which Bilbo Baggins climbs a tree in Mirkwood Forest. Our hero had been mired in the malaise of fading hope on their journey to the Lonely Mountain and their quest. As he broke through the treetops, suddenly the direction becomes clear and his vision is renewed. The book records that “Bilbo’s eyes were nearly blinded.” The movie brings vivid color to what had been previously dull and gray.
I don’t know about you, but I find myself easily losing the forest for the trees, if you will.
I recently finished “A Grander Story: An Invitation to Christian Professors” by Rick Hove, Executive Director of Faculty Commons, and Heather Holleman, PhD, and English Department instructor at Penn State. It tells about the important contribution that professors can make, highlighting six stories of faculty who see their position in the academy as one of significant spiritual influence.
The final section of the book offers some practical steps for Christian faculty in embodying this grander story of their identity. But I found my own eyes wonderfully lifted up in the last chapter as I read about the high calling of living for our King.
Rick and Heather wrote,
“Because there is a King, we have a grander story, and this changes everything. The Apostle Paul picks up this line of thought in 1 Corinthians 15. After a stirring chapter on the resurrection, he writes, ‘But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ….’ Christ’s victory results in daily steadfast, abounding, hope-filled work in the Lord. Because He is risen, there is hope, and we should give ourselves fully to His work; we long to ‘abound in the work of the Lord.’ Because God is King, and He is at work in the world, there is hope for every person, the academy, and the world. What might this look like? P. 183.
“The academy is uniquely positioned to shape the world, as so much of our country, and the world, is ‘downstream‘ of America’s universities. The research, discoveries, and students flowing from our universities go to shape the world. P. 188.
“America’s universities can be a tangible blessing to the world because through those who follow the King, the hope of Jesus Christ, in all sorts of ways, can flow to the people of our country and even to the world. P. 189.
“One day we will be with the One for whom we were created, and though we do not know the timing, the certainty of this moment is no more in question than the certainty of His first appearing. Until that day, we follow our King, trusting Him to use us in our departments, classrooms, and the world, to play out the specific role He has called us to in His grander story. P. 190
“Lord, may we seize upon the moments, You’ve given us, to give our lives away to be used by You in Your great plan to bless the world, for Your glory. May we be both faithful and full of faith, as we long for Your great glory to cover the earth. You are our hope and the hope of the world.” P.194.
Does this not lift your eyes to a worthy vision of the Lord’s grander purposes for us?
Why not consider picking up a copy of the book. You can get it here. Then when you finish reading it, why not give it to a Christian faculty member and offer to meet together to consider ways to integrate their faith and work.
Spring Coaching Tips
- All good things start (again) with Jesus.
- A Staff Team Pioneering a New Campus Together.
- Select Next Year’s Leadership Now.
- A new 31 Day Experiment.
- Natural mode launching.
- Top Ten Myths About Sharing Your Faith.
- 25 Ways to Keep the World Before Your Students.
- Balancing Relationships.
- Noticing Your Way Into Spiritual Conversations.
- Understanding Change.
Selected Tips from Fall 2016
- “Act as if it were true”.
- Ways a coach helps.
- Did you know…?
- Movement Leadership Forms.
- Ministry beyond ministry.
- Launch and Build Bridges Movements.
- Future Teachers Living Missionally.
- A Destino Multiple Movements Case Study.
- Freshman Takeover Night.
- Some ways to build student leadership.