I just read the latest issue of the Economist. What sad news. I have learned editorial opinions about how we all got into this financial mess that we are in. But I could discern no real answers. So I am shifting my heart and mind now to a place where there is a fortune to be made. Where is that? Well, a new semester begins on Tuesday for Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. New students are moving in. Other students already in the program are now getting ready to come back. Professors are re looking at syllabus, praying about their presentations, and remembering why we do what we do. Staff are preparing for our pastoral and missionary students to return in numerous ways seen and unseen, all of which deserve our gratitude. A new professor, Dr. James Anderson, now joins our faculty and begins to teach apologetics. A new adjunct faculty member, Dr. Harry Reeder, now helps to lead a Doctoral of Ministry program in Church Revitalization, through his influential ministry, Embers to Flames in Birmingham. Interest in our chaplain and Reformed campus ministry institutes continues to grow. Our admissions numbers are higher than last year (at this point; there is always some last minute shifting, so we say that humbly as unto the Lord and not to boast). But we are thankful for the continued growth of our Master of Divinity core program but also the other programs. So despite the recession and the hard times, there is great refreshment in seeing this work of the Gospel go forward in these and many other ways.
But where is the fortune? Our greatest fortune of our nation is not found in another bail out package. It is not found in the latest tip of a bond fund or a blue light special stock that is just “bound to go up.” No. Our fortune, according to God’s Word is found in God Himself and in a hope for His Word getting into our communities. The Psalmist, thus, wrote:
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad (Psalm 14.7 ESV).
And so in the midst of so much bad news, there is a great “fortune” to be made as God’s servants are being prepared in the Gospel ministry. And you who now sit under the mentor-ship of godly pastor-scholars will take this Gospel to the ends of the earth. And some of you will take that Gospel into the pulpits and campuses and church ministries of our own desperate nation. And the truths you learn here you will administer there. And healing will come. Maybe revival will come. And so, my beloved, we will be glad.
I can’t wait for this semester to get started.