"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Words from the Grave

Last week at Harding's 88th Annual Lectureship, I was blessed to witness a very "historical" event for a preacher, the memorial service of Dr. Neale Pryor. Dr. Pryor taught Bible at Harding University for 45 years and served in many different leadership roles for the University. He is one of the best Bible professors our brotherhood has ever seen or heard. I was privileged to sit at his feet my junior year and take "Joshua through Esther." Even in the fog of Old Testament symbolism and legalism, Dr. Pryor made the words on the pages come to life.

It's been a while since I last spoke with Dr. Pryor face to face. Several years ago, his health began to deteriorate, and I moved from Searcy, Arkansas back to Texas after graduation to begin my preaching ministry, but I still remember the power of his teaching and the soothing tone of his voice. At his memorial service, it was very clear that thousands of people still remember as well.

In Hebrews chapter eleven, the Hebrew writer mentions the Heroes of the Faith. I've always loved his words about Abel, the young hero whose life was stolen by his jealous brother Cain, "And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead." (Hebrews 11:4) Like Abel, Dr. Pryor's message still echoes in the classroom. I still hear his favorite words, accompanied by that loving smile, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Luke 9:25)

We will all die, and when we do, the words that summarize our lives will still speak. What will you say? What will people hear?