What a month this July has been for Matthew. Celebrating 25 years of marriage, turning 50 four days after our anniversary, spending a week at our favorite youth camp, holding his own Follow Thru With Christ Basketball Camp the week after youth camp, finally receiving a Doctor of Religious Education and Doctor of Theology the next week.
This is about a third of the graduating class. I thought I would catch them rehearsing, so I came back to the church with my zoom lens, only to find they were finished with rehearsal and were going to take a group picture. A good reminder to always carry the camera bag!
When I think about this weekend and what it meant to our family, it was so much more than Matthew receiving two Doctorates and an award. It was about family, friendships, and ultimately a stewardship that God has entrusted to Matthew’s care.
I had to throw this picture in to show you the reality of how busy life has been. When Matt got back to the hotel he had about 30 minutes before we had to leave for the banquet planned for Thursday night. He was sound asleep in less than 5 minutes!
Matt and I are so thankful for daughters who whole-heartedly support their family. We know we are approaching a time in life when our oldest may be getting ready to leave home – so every occasion that we have to spend together as a family is special to us – and this weekend even more so.
Matthew was honored with a special award at the banquet. We were taken totally by surprise – especially when they began by introducing the recipient as a Pastor who has three daughters. I thought Mariah was going to stand up and announce to the 300+ in attendance that her daddy had four daughters.
Over and over again, out of the blue through-out the weekend, I would hear one of the girls say to their dad, “I’m so proud of you Daddy!” He heard it from me more than once too!
This is the group from the Upstate that attended. Dr. Price is the Dean of the Seminary where Matt teaches. Some in this group are students who are receiving an AA or Bachelors, others are Professors and their wives and children. A gracious young man was willing to take several pictures for us. It is such a blessing for Matt to have the friendship of such godly men.
As I mentioned earlier, this weekend was about so much more than bringing home two pieces of paper and two books. It was a weekend of encouragement as I was able to watch rich fellowship between men of God. They labor together, they sharpen each other. They are men enough to engage in deep conversations – that may not always lead to a point of agreement – but still continue to dig deep, in love, continuing the conversation – because they have one goal and purpose – that of knowing Christ and making Him known.
I am so thankful for these faithful men in my husband’s life. Men who are willing to speak truth into his life. Men who are willing to challenge him. We have been so blessed to have such friends and this July has given us the opportunity to spend concentrated time with so many of them.
Someone once said, “We are a soft people.” Meaning we can no longer take counsel or instruction. We have lost the ability to be teachable in our society. I know that statement may seem a little out-of-place in a post where a man is being honored for receiving two doctorates. However, I think one of the things I honor most in my husband is that he has remained teachable over the years that I have known him. He has not become puffed up with knowledge. I see that same character trait in the men Matt holds as his closest friends. I think Jr. Hill put it well Friday night when he said, “God doesn’t choose the wise of this world, or the mighty, but the willing and broken to show His power and wisdom.”
As we walk away from this weekend, the added degrees, the title in front of Matthew’s name (which will only be used by his students) are only a stewardship. To whom much is given, much is required. Those who walked across the platform, shook the registrars hand, and walked away with a new diploma have done so because they have been students of the Word. They, like the rest of us have a responsiblity to handle carefully and faithfully the eternal Word of truth. Not to voice our opinions, but to rightfully express truth to a world in need. To that end, may this stewardship be handled with great care.
May we all be found faithful!