JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 10, 2012 – Jesus is not in time, time is in Jesus, said Robert Smith, professor of preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala., in a chapel address Sept. 7 at Union University.
Smith’s address centered on the John 11 account of the death and resurrection of Lazarus, a man from the town of Bethany.
“Bethany exists to give birth to belief that will bring about transformation and redemptive activity,” Smith said.
Time is a crucial aspect of the story of Lazarus and other stories in the New Testament, Smith said. Several accounts in John show Jesus can control the time of a person’s death in order to work according to his good purpose, he said.
Christians should also be reminded from the story of Lazarus that no one can be certain of his or her time on this earth, he said, adding that the uncertainty should cause Christian students to minister now, even while preparing for ministry in college.
He said Christians often have a lot of opportunity, but not a lot of desire to take those opportunities.
“You must match that opportunity with desire,” he said. “Don’t settle for the word ‘average.’”
Smith, a regular speaker at Union, is a professor, author and preacher who has researched the place of passion in preaching, the literary history of African American preaching, Christological preaching and theologies of preaching. In addition to teaching and researching, Smith served for 20 years as a pastor at New Mission Missionary Baptist Church in Cincinnati.
Later in the day on Sept. 7, Smith spoke at a preaching workshop for students and pastors from the local community. At the workshop, Smith stressed the importance of interweaving the doctrine of the Trinity and Christian theology into preaching.
The day before, Smith was the featured speaker at the Ministers Appreciation Banquet for West Tennessee ministers and their spouses.
Audio from Smith’s chapel address is available at www.uu.edu/audio/detail.cfm?ID=666.
By Samantha Adams (’13)