on Monday, December 12, 2022

Jamie Dew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College president, spoke with urgency at graduation, Dec. 9, charging candidates to remember the task to which God had called them.

“There has never been a greater need for what you are about to do than right now,” Dew said. “In a world filled with darkness and hurting and brokenness, what you have been called to do is, in fact, the answer to it all.” 

In separate graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, NOBTS conferred 39 doctoral degrees, including nine Ph.D.s, two doctor of musical arts, one Ed.D., 25 D.Min. and two D.Ed.Min. degrees, and 108 master degrees. Leavell College graduates received 61 diplomas and certificates.  

Drawing from I Corinthians 4:1-2, Dew said the brief passage “encapsulated” everything he wanted graduates to remember as they go forward. Dew charged them to be servants, good stewards of the gospel, and to be faithful.

“Before anything else, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a servant,” Dew began.  

Dew admitted that the call to servanthood has been a constant theme during their years at NOBTS and Leavell College, but that he wanted “one last time” to encourage them “daily to crucify the flesh” and humbly serve others.

In a world that pursues wealth, power and fame, believers must be different, Dew stressed.

“In God’s economy, things are upside down,” Dew said. “The world calculates value in one way … and yet in God’s kingdom … it’s all very different.”

Dew reminded listeners of Jesus’ teachings that the “first shall be last and the last shall be first” and that “he who would keep his life would lose it.” Dew pointed to verse one and noted that Paul meant the world should recognize believers as servants because this is what Jesus modeled and taught. Dew pointed further to Christ’s example of humility and obedience in Philippians 2.

“If we are anything, we believe what He taught us, we go where He sends us, we do what He does,” Dew said. “And Jesus said, as He washed His disciples feet, ‘If I being your master wash your feet, how much more should you do this for each other.’

“Remember, my friends, if we are anything, we are servants,” Dew said.

Secondly, Dew said the passage tells believers they are stewards of the “mystery of the gospel,” and that they are entrusted with a valuable possession that belongs to God.

Dew cautioned that moments will come in ministry that will remind them they are “jars of clay” and in those moments they will feel inadequate.

“Let me just assure you, you’re right,” Dew said. He added, “It’s not about you. It’s about the power of Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit that comes into those moments with us. And when we take those steps of obedience to stand … God Himself meets us right there.”

Dew charged graduates that as stewards they must continue to study well, resist the pressure to compromise the message, and proclaim the gospel faithfully.

“What good are we to the confusion and the chaos of our world if we don’t actually take that which has been entrusted to us and go proclaim it to those who need it?” Dew said. He added, “Stand where you’ve been told to stand and then go preach Christ crucified to a world that is broken.”

Dew charged listeners to be faithful regardless of whether they see “fruit” in ministry or how the world responds. Being faithful means devotion to Christ, responding to others with kindness, commitment to proclaim the gospel and walk in wisdom, and “fortitude” in ministry, Dew explained.

“God calls us to do hard things,” Dew said. “God calls us to go to hard places. God calls us to stand in those moments trusting that He’ll stand there with us, trusting that He’ll give us grace and power and strength and all the things we need in those moments.”

“Remember you are servants,” Dew concluded. “Remember you are stewards and that your primary task is to stay faithful.”