Fall is a season of promise. Kids go back to school. Semester has begun. Parents are in their routines. It is a new business quarter. The end of the year is in site with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the distant horizon. At this point in the fall, many are caught up in the excitement of a new beginning.
My kids are excited about their new classes at school (7th grade-college). My wife is excited about her new class as a graduate school student. I am excited as a teacher starting with a new course and new students.
For many here at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Orlando, we are captivated by new subjects and amazing teachers. What a joy to tale time out of busy schedules to study the Scriptures and immerse ourselves in Biblical wisdom! What a privilege to spend some time with the saints of old and read about the life and witness of the early church! How exciting to learn about the Reformers and the great revivals and awakenings of the past!
What a blessing to learn how to serve people more effectively and sharpen our ministry skills! What a neat thing to read great books, meet the authors, and grow in self knowledge and understanding!
And theology–what a privilege to study theology and take time to consider the most important knowledge in the world—the knowledge of God. It was Calvin himself who said,
“The final goal of the blessed life, rests in the knowledge of God.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volume 1, John Calvin, ed. John T. McNeill, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, London 1960, p. 51)
But as wonderful and enriching as all these subjects are (and any other pursuit we might be involved in), there is actually something more wonderful and more important—that is, seeking the Lord together. This is our 2011-2012 theme for the semester here at RTS Orlando.
As we begin this season of promise, as we plan out our assignments, please do not forget that the most important thing we can do this year is to seek the Lord. Amos 5.4-6 reads, 4 This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live; 5do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.” 6Seek the Lord and live.”
Here was a promise made to Israel long ago. It was a promise to lead us to life! But in Amos’ day, the people ignored it to their peril by going to other places and seeking other things first.
We’ve all heard the expression “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!” Well, in this case, the main thing was not Bethel or Gilgal. It was seeking the Lord!
So whether you are a seminarian, a statistician, a scientist, a sales assistant, a school teacher, a storm chaser, a soccer player, a secretary, a social worker, a surveyor, a systems analyst, a super model, a sociologist, a speech pathologist, a stockbroker, a software engineer, a seismologist, a soldier, a singer, a song writer, a strawberry picker, support technician, a sign maker, a surgeon, seamstress, or a screenwriter, as wonderful as all these pursuits may be……..take God’s good Word into this season of promise and into your fall. Keep your focus! He is the one who knows you and loves you. Which is why he said it as clearly as can be said—Seek Me and Live!
If you missed my RTS convocation chapel address on this very theme, check out an edited version on my blog site.