Mark D. Geil, Kinesiology and Health,
Georgia State University
[December 1, 2008] — As I write these words on the 336th day of the year, I can begin to reflect on another annum of reading through the Bible, cover to cover, in order from page one to that last beautiful “Amen.” I am following Rae Mellichamp’s handy guide, divided up to make each day’s reading about the same number of verses, something the
engineer in me appreciates. However, I’ve done something radically different this year: I invited my family along for the ride.
A Big Task With Three Daughters
I mentioned the idea to my wife about this time last year. I shared that I felt God calling us to read through the Bible together as a family. She was supportive, but she is also the pragmatist who realizes the difficulty of engaging in such a big daily task with three daughters, one of whom was only six years old at the time. Still, she sensed my enthusiasm and agreed, with the caveat that we would all have
to really pitch in to make this happen.
Now I look at just how many pages I turn to get to today’s reading in 1st Corinthians and I’m amazed. We started off reading mostly aloud, all together, usually perched on our bed. We managed the genealogies and Levitical laws and yes, the Numbers. Sometimes we’ve read too quickly, longing to stop and ask questions and dig deeper but aware that we had a schedule to keep. Sometimes we got behind, and had to launch into marathon catch-up days. As the year wore on, that six-year-old became a much better reader, and we’ve often done our reading on our own, holding each other accountable. The reading goes more quickly when it’s not aloud, allowing more time for glances at the notes. We’ve even just purchased a dramatized New Testament on CD, so others can do the reading for us.
We All Now Know The Word Better
This effort has indeed been a challenge, but there have been so many wonderful moments along the way. We all now know the Word better, and consequently we know the Author of that Word better. We have been profoundly reminded that everything in the Bible points to Jesus. Those months spent in the Old Testament have made us long for Him in a tangible way. We’ve felt the years of silence between Malachi and Matthew, and our sorrow on Golgotha has been more poignant than ever. Now we celebrate the risen Savior even as the calendar reminds us again of His birth.
I encourage you to make the same commitment we did. Disciple your children by pointing them to the Bible. Grow closer to God and in so doing grow closer together.
You may download the Bible reading plan here:
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© 2008 Mark D. Geil Used by permission of Faculty Commons
Joseph McRae Mellichamp,
Emeritus Professor of Management Science
The University of Alabama
[Dec 7, 2008] —
“I wrecked two marriages before earning tenure, and it wasn’t worth it.”
A professor had come up to me several years ago, at the conclusion of a “How to Make Tenure” seminar at Oklahoma State University, and began telling me his marital woes.
He explained: “You were right when you said, ‘If tenure is your be-all, end-all goal in life, you’ll be sadly disappointed when you achieve it. Many things are more important, such as your relationship with your Creator, family, friends, and community.’”
Peggy and I are approaching 50 years of married life together, many of which were spent in a university setting, and I thought it might be helpful to share two practices that have helped us along the way.
Being 100% Engaged
First, I tried to be at home nights and weekends, to leave my work at the office when I left, and to be 100 percent engaged with Peggy and our two children when I was home. This involved helping with the children and with household chores.
A professor at Purdue University affirmed this principle when she remarked, “I decided that if I couldn’t be a good wife and mother and earn tenure at Purdue, God wasn’t calling me into academia.” She earned tenure. Change “wife and mother” to “husband and father” and the same principle applies. We each must determine what constitutes a reasonable expenditure of effort at work and what is reasonable for other life endeavors.
I remember reading a newspaper article about a colleague who said, “I have no hobbies, I work seven days and nights a week, my profession is my life!” God knows who we are competing against in academia, and He promises that if we put Him first in our lives, He will take care of everything else (Matthew 6:33), including our families and jobs.
Over and over in my career I saw Him take the effort and time I devoted to my career and multiply that resulting in publications, research funding and recognition which I could not account for in human terms.
One Thing I Could Do Each Week
Second, I like what Stephen Covey’s “First Things First” seminar asks: “What is the one thing you could do each week in each area of your life that would help you succeed in that area?”
Peggy and I both enjoy movies. Years ago we started what we called “Friday Night at the Movies.” We tried to have one night each week—not always Fridays — when we got away from home. Watching movies on TV at home did not count. It required having a baby-sitter when our children were small, but it allowed the two of us to relax, possibly have dinner, and enjoy a good movie.
So take it from someone who has been around the block in the academy. You married a guy or a girl, not a university. The university is a terrible mistress— consuming all of your time and energy if you let it, only to forget you one day. Don’t let that happen.
© 2008 Joseph M. Mellichamp Used by permission of Faculty Commons