Hallowed Halls

August 1st, 2004

“For by it the people of old received their commendation.”

(Hebrews 11:2)

Years ago, while studying on the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, I was walking down a hallowed hallway. There, on either side of the corridor, I was flanked by large portraits of past students who went on to become accomplished experts in their respective fields. There were hundreds of them. It was about this same time that I had been talking with an individual about what makes a school outstanding. I was expressing that it was the teachers who determined whether an academic institution would be great. To my surprise, my friend began shaking his head to the contrary. He said that it was not the teachers that made the institution great. I said, “Well, what is it then?” He replied, “the students.”

Whether commendation, then, is seen as coming through teachers’ techniques, or through students’ accomplishments, we cannot doubt but that both have a role to play. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is
fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Competence, biblically, comes from God (2 Corinthians 3:5,6). And, finding our human completeness is a search that will lead us to the Christ (Colossians 2:10; Philippians 3:9).

There is a story of a village beggar reputed to have little mental capacity. Whenever he was offered a choice between a nickel and a dime he always chosethe nickel. After this had gone on for some time, a chap pulled him aside and explained that a dime is worth twice as much as a nickel, and that he should always choose the dime. “Oh, I know the dime is worth more,” the beggar replied. “But if I ever chose the dime, people would stop offering.” (Wood’s Modern Handbook, p. 517). It seems that the beggar had his own hallowed hall of expertise. And what might yours’ be? If it is not a commendation through the
competence which God gives; if it is not a completeness through the life and work which Christ gives— it is not a commendation of faith (Hebrews 11:2,3).

The teacher will teach when the student is ready.

–Robert M. Housby

Categories: 2 Corinthians, Colossians, Hebrews, Luke, Philemon Tags: