What is one piece of advice you would give to every seminary student? Dr. Derek Thomas provides the piece of advice that he thinks every seminary student needs to hear.
I’ve been a seminary professor for half of my life. And if I was giving a piece of advice as somebody who is now sixty-five and at the tail end of ministry, not done yet, and I am giving advice to a young seminary student with a future before him, I guess it’s a twin-pronged piece of advice that I would give him. First, at one end, it’s not about you. When we’re young, we’re going to change the world and conquer the world, and we’ve spent all this money on education, and we’re going to do something with it, and all that’s fine. But it’s not about you. And let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God but emptied Himself and took the form of a servant. So be a servant, be willing to serve, at whatever cost that may be. But secondly, and it’s the other end of that, why am I a servant? Because God has saved me and rescued me. I am who I am and I am gifted in the way that I am gifted because of His mercy and grace, so keep your eye on the gospel. There are times in ministry when you take your eye off the gospel and it’s about you, effort, progress, accomplishment, and notches in your belt. It’s not, “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.” And that’s not just a message for my salvation, it’s a message for my ministry. All that I do, all that God enables me to do, even the difficult things, are in order to give glory to Jesus who saves me and rescues me and has put me in this task—placed me in this task as a broken vessel to give Him all the praise and glory. So, preach the gospel to yourself every morning when you get up and every night when you go to sleep; remind yourself, “I am just a sinner saved by grace.”
Editor’s Note: This post was first published on April 15, 2019.