A little over a year ago, Yvette and I visited several South Korean Christian universities. Our university in Pakistan had developed partnerships with several of these institutions, and my job was to broaden opportunities for collaboration. Handong Global University was particularly impressive. Though all these institutions were Christian, we were stunned by a message that met us as we walked into the administration building: “God’s University.” No excuses, no explanation; a just bold expression of identity.
As you walk around campus and notice mission and value statements, you never forget the importance of the community’s identity with God. As I compared this with my experience at numerous Christian universities in the U.S.A., I became embarrassed by how sensitive we have become about offending others by who we are as Christian institutions. The boldness of Handong Global University’s statement was supported by the campus’ beauty, its innovation and excellence in curriculum and facilities, and a confidence that God was with this community because it dared to honor him in its identity and service.
All if not most Christian universities would suggest that they belong to God. Few have been so bold as to publish this affirmation. We reminded ourselves in coming to Fresno that FPU is also “God’s University.” We are all his students, these are his facilities and he has called us to serve one another. We so easily lose sight of our place as a community of his kingdom that is governed by our love for one another. Jesus says that the world around us will know about our identity with him by our love for one another (John 13:35).
Our future and our success rest in the conviction that we are “God’s University.” Yes, there are others all over the world, but our success is founded on our resolve that he not only is Lord of our community, but that FPU, including our seminary and regional campuses, are here for the glory of God and the extension of his kingdom.
We do not work for our own benefit, but for the glory and splendor of the owner. We are not here to exert our personal rights because we have offered ourselves up to the owner as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1) in service to our king and one another. Our call to this work is to follow the manager. He says to follow him we must “deny ourselves, and take up our cross (our kingdom responsibilities) and follow Him.” (Luke 9:23)
Part of that responsibility is to trust in him wholly. To believe that he is more than able to empower us to be a beacon of light in the Valley and around the world. He is more than able to do that which concerns us if we would set aside unbelief, murmuring and complaints; and walk in appreciation for what he is doing in our lives.
Our success is not dependent on all our strategies. Our success is dependent on our “casting down every imagination that exalts itself against who we know God to be. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Our hope and our confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7) It is through that faith that he empowers us to do “far above all we can ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20) Join with me in the spirit of thanksgiving, and you will see the glory of God in his university.