“Five minutes!” “Okay, I’ll be there in five minutes!” This was the phone greeting I used for several years as I was the Starbucks source for my good friend, Dr. Terry Hulbert. We shared a love of good coffee and good conversation. Our times together wouldn’t end with a “Well, have a nice day.” I would ask him how he was doing and he would ask me about my exploits teaching theology, playing tennis with other old guys, and my heart for sharing the gospel with others.
He retired — became a “Professor Emeritus” — several years ago, and I miss our coffee times together. His office is mostly unoccupied, although he occasionally comes in for lunch at CIU’s cafeteria.
Yesterday I visited Dr. Hulbert at home, to take away most of his remaining library to sell or give away to students as he and Mrs. Hulbert are moving into an assisted living facility.
You have entered something very private, I think, when you are asked to go into a respected New Testament scholar and former missionary’s basement to cart away his lifetime collection of books.
Far more important than his library or his own publications is the impact he has had on thousands of student’s lives over the years. He has challenged them with the question, “What does the text say?” He has urged them to pursue a committed love for the Lord, to have a vision for this large, lost world, to be a man or woman of grace. And his life has impacted mine.
The question which looms large in my mind is this: What will be my legacy? What memories, what challenges, what intentional (albeit imperfect) examples will I leave behind that will inspire others to say, “My, didn’t he love the Lord and His Word?”
I’ve already begun to purge my personal library, to toss class notes I no longer need, in anticipation of someone else sorting through my stuff when I’m gone. I just hope they won’t forget the good things the Lord has done in my own life — and the promise held out to them that the same Lord can use them too.
Written by Dr. Larry Dixon Professor of Theology, Columbia International University Seminary and School of Ministry
"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11