Short Time, Huge Impact (V)

February 24, 2010

(Again, this is my weekly article in the historic New Braunfels (TX) Herald-Zeitung.  Enjoy!)

I am providing personal illustrations that the importance of what happens in life has little to do with how much time it takes.  This one occurred when I was 26, during my last semester in seminary. It had to do with one of the more frustrating circumstances in life: “delayed gratification” that’s never gratified.

When I got to Dallas Theological Seminary in 1972, I had serious questions regarding an issue in the New Testament.  As soon as I arrived, I put my name on a waiting list to take the only course in the catalog—an elective—on that subject.  Unfortunately, you then had to wait until your final semester to take the class.

So, I waited.  But, something unprecedented happened.  There was an unavoidable scheduling conflict.  The professor, Dr. Howard Hendricks, couldn’t be available to teach the section of the course I was to be in.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement!  I had waited years to get my questions answered by an expert.

Fortunately, to make amends with me and the other students on that waiting list, we were given the opportunity to take another course taught by Dr. Hendricks.  It was an excellent course… just not what I had hoped for.

Still, it got me into proximity to the man I believed had answers to the questions torturing me.  So, occasionally, I walked him back to his office after class, asking my pent-up questions.  Finally, one day, as he opened his office door, he said, “Luter, you’ve had three years of Greek.  You figure it out!”

I did.  My doctoral dissertation, four journal articles, two books and a Bible dictionary entry were on that subject.  But, I never would have “figured it out” myself without Prof Hendricks’ 10-second admonition.

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