by Jarrod Lopez, Director of Admissions, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
In the second of three Academy of Preachers breakout sessions, young preachers Amanda Standiford, a current student at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, and Marcus Jacob Pernell, a recent Georgetown College graduate, delivered sermons.
Standiford preached on the story of Naomi and Ruth. Drawing upon an alternative reading of the book of Ruth that characterizes Naomi as an angry, bitter woman, Ruth’s high-road of hesed – the Hebrew word for love that Standiford described as going above and beyond what is required – in dealing with Naomi seems all the more remarkable. When Ruth chose to love rather than abandon her mother-in-law, that choice redeemed Naomi’s situation. It transformed Naomi from the frustrated widow to the great, great grandmother of a king. The power of this love was contrasted with a personal story involving a difficult roommate whom Standiford and her college friends failed to love in this way. In the end, Standiford challenged listeners – regardless of who they identified with in this story – to follow the command of Christ in John 13:44: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
Pernell preached on the importance of time in developing relationships. Drawing on Hebrews 2:1-4 and stories of Jesus in the Gospels, Pernell proclaimed that Christ’s spending time with the untouchables and the outcasts out of love for them should serve as an example for us in building relationships. Our relationships should be characterized not just by breadth, but by depth, regardless of the many demands on our time. Rather than adopting the Little Caesar’s approach to life (“Hot and Ready”), God calls us to a more deliberate pace. “Life’s most beautiful moments take time.” It is time spent with others that makes relationships intimate and authentic. Similarly, failing to spend time with Christ leads to drifting away from faith. Pernell challenged listeners to live with the question: “Who needs my time?”