Posted by Philip Poole on 2009-08-25
Staying true to vocational calling will be difficult, but rewarding, if you place complete trust in God, students at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School were told Tuesday (Aug. 25) in the annual convocation opening the school's 21st session.

"If you surrender completely to God, you will make a greater impact by who you are and what you do," said Jimmy E. Jackson, pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala.  Jackson continues a long tradition of having the president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention speak at Beeson Divinity School.

Preaching from Psalm 32, Jackson told about 200 students, faculty and guests in Samford's Gerow Hodges Chapel that they must be willing to "surrender to God, not matter what you do."

Jackson said that only two of every 10 people who start college with plans for vocational ministry actually end their careers in vocational ministry. 

"You will have challenges and opportunities ahead of you," Jackson said.  "If you ever become presumptuous that God has blessed you in the past and will bless you in the future, you will fail."

Jackson noted that the biblical King David "plummeted from the peak of success at a time when he should have been the most grateful" for God's leadership in his life.  David came to a point where nothing in his life "was working anymore."

Quoting from David's Psalm, the long-time pastor said that individuals in vocational ministry will have many times when they "need God as a hiding place."  Ministers face disappointments and failures, but also have successes.  Regardless, "you will always need a hiding place."

In another long-standing Beeson Divinity School tradition, new faculty member Gisela Kreglinger affirmed and signed the school's faith confession.  BDS Dean Timothy George noted that every faculty member who had ever taught at the divinity school had affirmed the confession.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.