"How would you like to be married to you?" Prof's voice would swagger as he stared into the face of the wide-eyed green seminary student on the front row. Then Prof would wipe his nose on his sleeve, a caricature of the naiveté of the young man that he was preparing for a lifetime of successful ministry. I graded for Prof 's Christian Home course in the 80's and a few of those green young men did not appreciate my comments in the margins, especially coming from a woman. But Prof backed me up in every situation.
Prof always greeted me with his winsome smile, an encouraging word, and a fatherly hug as I adjusted to joining the faculty on the platform at chapel, at faculty meetings, and at faculty workshop every August. When I was blessed to co-author a book on men and women working together to honor Jesus, Prof was our cheerleader and provided us with insightful stories and quotes. He was a friend to women, and to men, well, to everyone.
And he was honest about his hang-ups and idiosyncrasies. I remember the first time I heard him talk about his struggle with depression in his early years, a struggle I could relate to. I often wondered if my sensitive nature and early tendency toward highs and lows would disqualify me from ministry. Prof gave me hope that if God could use him with all his imperfections in such a mighty way, well then, God could use me, even me, in some way.
Tomorrow is Prof's funeral. I'll be there with several thousand other people. And they will put that worn out body in the ground. But you won't be there, Prof. You are with Jesus, healthy and whole, and undoubtedly teaching somebody something, wiping your nose on your sleeve and proclaiming that Jesus that we all love so dearly. And He will be watching, laughing, rejoicing, and shouting, "Well done, good and faithful servant, well done."