The chaplain had the best intentions when he lowered my expectations this morning. He just wanted me to be prepared, to know that what was about to happen to me wasn’t personal. It happens to everyone.
As about a thousand students took their seats in the gym and opened their laptops and books, he told me they would be respectful but wouldn’t listen. The students on the basketball court near the stage would listen, he said, but the folks up there in the bleachers? Not so much.
This man oversees spiritual development at Gardner-Webb University. He loves these students – gets animated when he talks about them. He knows them well. He’s been doing this job a while. So this morning’s chapel service wasn’t his first rodeo with these people.
But he was wrong about them. Just plain wrong.
Or, maybe more accurately, he was pleasantly surprised. So was I.
I love surprises
It’s often the case that when I’m tongue-tied or tired or sick or all three, unexpectedly good things happen that can’t possibly be credited to my general awesomeness – because I’m all out of awesome.
It’s often the case that when expectations are low, lofty things happen: Like when students – thought to be bad listeners – sponsored a record number of Compassion kids this morning. A record number for Gardner-Webb!
Mr. Chaplain and I were wrong. Surprise! Maybe God was showing off – You know, just a little reminder that the world (and a gym) is in His hand and that He is the generator of compassion. And for this surprising generosity I’m left with no choice but to say “Thank (only) God.”
I won’t be the only one giving thanks because of what God did through the students of Gardner-Webb University today.
11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
2 Corinthians 9:11-13