I met one of my favorite professors several years after he retired. He’d agreed to come back and teach beginnning Greek and Hebrew grammar for a year. He’d been on the faculty with Bruce Metzger, the famous Biblical studies professor who had helped shape the Revised Standard Version of the Bible as well as the New Revised Standard Version. If asked, he would say that Metzger was the better scholar, and that he had learned a great deal from him. Even in his retirement, Metzger was quite aware of his reputation, and of his achievements. He had better things to do with his time and talent than teach grammar; someone else with lesser abilities could do that.
Metzger had a point. He continued giving lectures and working at the highest level of academia in his retirement. His list of accomplishments continued to grow almost until his death.
I am grateful for the life and work of Bruce Metzger. Every time I open my NRSV Bible, I encounter his work in its translation choices and notes. But I didn’t know him as a person, and I have no idea how his relationship to God in Christ affected his life.
The other professor, I knew. He taught Greek and Hebrew because the words of the prophets and the gospels were written in them. He didn’t think teaching grammar was beneath him: how could offering others the ability to read sacred texts be beneath him? He had humility in spades, and joy to share.
Love God, self, and neighbor in whatever you do, and joy is sure to come.