An Evening of Learning with Dean Craig Hill
Perkins’ Dean Craig Hill helps believers tap into the power of honoring what God honors and seeking God’s opinion over that of others.
In the comic strip, Peanuts, it was Linus that once said, “I love humanity. It’s the people I can’t stand.” In his keynote address, Dean Craig Hill, Perkins Theological Seminary, acknowledged the relationship challenges humans have had from the days of the New Testament – and prior, due to a natural desire for personal significance. That sense of personal value “lurks around every corner,” he shared, “urging us to question how we are doing as family members.” That natural tendency to evaluate self-worth,” he explained, “can become the source for us as pastors to crave feedback on our sermons and constantly compare ourselves to others in our same role. We can be so absorbed with self that we are unaware of others,” noted Dean Hill.
He explained to attendees that when this happens, they should reflect on the following:
- If you put your sense of worth in something, what happens when that is lost or taken away?
- If you feel your value is in ____, what happens when someone better comes along?
- Being self-centered requires constant self-evaluation, which can lead to shaky ground, hurt feelings and even counter attacks.
- The need to ‘be somebody’ promotes self-justification.
- What is a legitimate reason to feel significant?
- Everything focusing strictly on human significance fails at the grave.
“The disciples also struggled with comparing themselves to one another in Mark 9 when they argued about who was the greatest among them,” noted Dean Hill, “but Jesus redefines the terms of significance in John 13 when he washes their feet. Foot washing was the lowest of jobs, but he was the only one in the room who knew who he truly was, and was thereby free to serve.” Humans on the ‘hamster wheel’ often do not feel free to serve or connect deeply with God. Additionally, he observes, “Most unhappy people are scorekeepers.” Dean Hill believes Philippians 2 was written to address the bickering within the New Testament church by urging them to do nothing from selfish ambition but to regard others as better than themselves.
The crowd paused to discuss these application questions:
How do you distinguish good ambition from bad ambition?
How is ambition manifested in my church?
For what should our church be more ambitious?
“Vocation is others-centered while career tends to be more self-centered,” he adds. “Paul cold still exercise his vocation as an apostle in the prison, but when we get caught up in career ambition that can be a recipe for frustration. Instead, we should focus on the endless opportunity to be useful regardless of where we are.”
In conclusion, Dean Hill helped the group know where to start.
- God is the one that justifies. “It is God’s opinion we should most solicit and believe,” he shares.
- Who is invisible that needs to be recognized? “As in the story of the widow’s mite, we should serve and honor what and whom God honors.”
- Develop a culture of service by having the depth of faith to nurture a distinctly Christian culture. “Rather than serving as leaders, we also must lead as servants.”