As you are aware, Perkins School of Theology is in a time of transition. Dean Craig Hill is retiring from the deanship at the end of 2022. Bishop Mike McKee is taking up the mantle of leadership as Interim Dean. I am confident that Perkins will continue to offer outstanding education for pastors, leaders and others involved in various forms of service.
Transition reminds me of one of my favorite Old Testament books, Ecclesiastes. After noting that a common destiny of death awaits us all, the erudite Sage wrote in Ecclesiastes chapter 9:
“Go, eat your food with gladness, drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.”
Meaning, of course, that we are alive now, despite being destined for death, and while alive, as much as we can, we should enjoy the life that God has given us.
In much of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, the word often translated “meaningless” would be better rendered “vaporous.” That term comes from the Hebrew word “to breathe.” As we think about life, we realize that our lives certainly are vaporous, breathy, foggy—the years fly by, and just when we think we have everything under control, we realize that we can’t grasp life at all. Life is unpredictable!
In December nineteen years ago, I was forced to understand that life is unpredictable. While Christmas shopping on Wednesday, December 10, 2003, and carrying packages from the mall to our van, I began having chest pains. Although the pain went away, it returned later that night. To summarize, I had a quadruple bypass surgery the following day. Each year I celebrate “my surgery day” on December 11, remembering with a joyful heart (see above!) that I have been able to enjoy life.
That experience, now so long ago, reminds me that we have an important responsibility to live godly lives, do acts of kindness, and raise up the next generation who will serve the Church and the world. Part of that next generation is studying right now at Perkins School of Theology.
During this time of transition, it is important that we evaluate our financial strategies and continue to be wise stewards of the resources with which we have been entrusted. As people of faith, we give to causes that are dear to us. At the end of this calendar year, I urge you to be generous.
I am glad to help as you think about a year-end gift or a gift that may come to Perkins as the sage in Ecclesiastes notes, “when our vaporous days are over.”
For cash gifts you can go to this link and follow the instructions. Many are using this tool for recurring gifts. The site will instruct you on how to set that up.
Checks should be made out to “SMU” with a memo note: “SMU Fund for Perkins” and mailed to:
John A. Martin
PO Box 750133
Dallas, TX 75275-0133
During this period transition, enjoy the year-end celebrations—our life may be vaporous, but God has given life to us to enjoy.
With a vaporous but thankful heart,
John A. Martin
Director of Development