Let me begin by saying “congratulations to all for a successful academic 2012-2013 year!” It is now summer and your schedules are free from attending weekly courses, reading and studies in theological textbooks, researching for term papers, and cramming for exams. For some, you are now free from those dreaded Greek and Hebrew vocabulary cards and paradigms. I must confess that this sounds pretty dull to me! After all, what will you do now with all that time? If you are like my children, you may find that all that free time is highly overrated. By the end of the summer, they are eager and ready for school to begin.....sort of. So what are some ways you can utilize your time during these summer months?
Well, there is nothing wrong with rest. We are wired in such a way that we need to rest. Recall the Sabbath and the way we are encouraged to take that day to rest and to worship. Let me encourage all of you with this thought: use the summer in the same way as we are called to honor the Sabbath. On any given Lord’s Day, my time is spent....well, I sleep. Sleeping on the Sabbath is highly underrated and I for one need it! I also enjoy spending a time with my wife and children to talk about what they learned at church and helping them with any questions that they may have about the sermon from that day. My wife – who is a seminary graduate herself – is someone who enjoys digging even deeper on the Scriptures that were preached on. This is what we discuss as we share our Lord’s Day lunch at home. It is a great time.
I know that seminary students have so many components to their lives. I think especially of your families. The wear and tear of your studies has a direct impact not only on the student, but also on your families. And God bless them for their sacrifice and support. If there is a way in particular to “redeem the time” (Eph. 5:16) of the summer, it would definitely be to spend time with your spouses and your children. Consider this as an opportunity to not only get caught up on the latest summer blockbusters, but to also share with those close to you the many things that you have learned in the past year in your courses. Hopefully, you don’t need to do any research because it is all still (relatively) fresh in your minds. This allows you to reflect on the lessons that you learned, have a moment to meditate on the depths of those lessons, and share with your family the truths of Scripture. After all, before we can minister to God’s people, we need to minister to our family members.
Some are eager to begin the coming fall semester by getting ahead on their required readings. God bless you for that! It isn’t completely necessary, but I love the eagerness. In the same line of thought, remember one other “required reading” that is often overlooked.....the Bible! Find time to read Scripture and lots of it. You will find it so rewarding to read through Isaiah, all 66 chapters, in one sitting! It can be done and you will be enriched by it. You may even find that some of the perceived complexities in many books in Scripture begin to make sense when you read them through from beginning to end.
These are some of the ways that I would encourage you to spend the months of July and August. Remember that our staff and faculty are also here at designated office times. I for one can say that I enjoy chatting with students over a nice hot cup of coffee! My door is always open for those who would like to chat about life, ministry, and theology.
Dr. Peter Lee
Associate Professor of Old Testament