When I started to college at John Brown University, it was a “thing” on campus to have a life verse (a Bible verse that guides your life). I had never heard the phrase, “life verse,” and I did not have one. The first time a student asked, “What’s your life verse?” I replied, “What’s a life verse?” I didn’t have one, and I wasn’t sure how to get one. Still, my fellow students continued to ask, so I decided to fight back. I did pick one—“O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine” (Song of Solomon 1:2, RSV). Then, when the next student inquired, I proudly (If irreverently) responded, “Song of Solomon 1:2.” My astonished classmate exclaimed, “Song of Solomon 1:2! What does that say?” I proudly quoted the verse, and she stomped away in a huff. News of that got around, and my classmates stopped asking me.
During my senior year ,the college sponsored a missions conference. Through the providence of God ,I met one of the speakers, Rich Cannon, in the campus coffee shop (my favorite hang-out). He asked me if I had thought about serving as a missionary. In my mind ,male missionaries served as medical doctors or evangelists. I wasn’t good enough at chemistry to become a doctor, and I did not see myself as an evangelist. So, I answered him and said I could not foresee service as a medical or evangelistic missionary. He then asked, “What are you majoring in?” I answered, “education.” He smiled and said, “There are lots of ways to serve as a teacher on the mission field.” That surprised me and I replied, “What are those?” Rich Cannon then patiently explained the varied ways an educator could serve overseas. Then, he said, “Have you ever noticed 2 Timothy 2:2?” I said that I had read it, but I could not recall it. Then, he quoted the verse for me—“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (NKJV). He asked me, “Why not make that your life verse?”
I truly believe the Lord spoke to me through Rich Cannon that day. I did make 2 Timothy 2:2 my life verse. It has guided me through the 48 years since that day in the coffee shop. I’ve taught at Bible colleges and seminaries overseas and in the USA for more than forty years. The Lord did teach me to “do the work of an evangelist,” and I’ve helped to plant churches; however, my main ministry has been teaching. I’m glad for that because through teaching and mentoring students I can multiply myself through them. As a wise older missionary told me in 1978—”It is better to train ten men to do the work than to do the work of ten men.”
So, dear readers, how about you? Do you have a life verse? If so, what is your life verse? I realize it is old fashioned even to have a life verse, but I’m an old guy now and qualified to be old fashioned. If you don’t have a life verse, perhaps the Lord will give you one. The Apostle Paul testified in Acts 26:19—“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”