1,036,800 minutes of intense study, 518,400 minutes of
research and writing, 60 minutes of grueling defense, and 5 minutes to
deliberate and accept me into the doctoral club. Now what?
That’s the question that has been posed to me, and one that I have asked
myself. Most people pursue an academic
degree to further their career or increase their income. For me, as a pastor, it doesn’t achieve
either of those goals.
I enjoyed the academic rigor, the intellectual stimulation, the
challenge to accomplish something difficult, and the joy of having reached that
goal. But I have to say, as with every
adrenaline rush, there is a crash. Of course the return home from my on campus
defense was met with a flurry of activity as we prepared for an outreach event
at church, which was a tremendous success.
A friend of mine from college posted a song by Karen
Carpenter that said it all, “Rainy days and Monday’s always get me down.” Monday, yesterday, was my crash; I probably
listened to that song five times. There
was an empty feeling that was, at times, overwhelming. It was as if all that I have to show for my
effort is a peace of paper (and I don’t even have that yet).
God did not create me to stand still. I am constantly looking to the horizon,
looking for that next adventure, the next challenge, and the next adrenaline
rush. I am slowly motivated. That means it takes me a while to get going,
but when I do I am focused, and even driven at times. There is so much to be done, so much to
accomplish, so many lives to impact, and such a small window of opportunity.
“I know the plans I have for you,” God said, “plans for hope
and a future.” As believers we should
always be forward thinking. The past
gives shape to our lives, it reminds us of God’s faithfulness, but it is still
the past. If we remain there, glorying
in the things once done, then the future will be lost, and our present wishful
thinking. It reminds me of the Star Trek
Nexus; a place where time stands still and all of yesterday’s dreams are played
over and over again. It might feel good,
but it isn’t real.
I don’t know how God will use my newly earned degree. But I do know that I can’t stand still. I know the gospel needs to be preached. I know that people need to be led. I know that a new generation of leaders needs
to be developed. I’m just saying…..