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Follow the example of Zacchaeus, Scroggins tells students at first chapel
August 29, 2005
By Garrett Wishall
Boyce College dean Jimmy Scroggins addresses students during the opening chapel service. Photo by Jonathan Roberts
Like Zacchaeus, Boyce College students should respond to the call of Christ in their daily lives, as well as in their future min-istries, dean Jimmy Scroggins told students during the college's opening chapel service Aug. 17.
"This college is here to train ministers who respond correctly to the Savior," Scroggins said. "You have to make a choice at the beginning of each day to serve Jesus all day, every day. We are here for an important purpose. We are here to train leaders for the churches of the world."
Scroggins addressed the largest incoming class of students in the college's history, announcing that the total enrollment has reached a record 640 students.
"You have passed up other opportunities to come and get trained to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ," he said.
During his convocation address, Scroggins asked students to consider what God expected from them while they were students at Boyce. Preaching from Luke 19, Scroggins suggested that students can discover these expectations by looking at the example of Zacchaeus.
"Zacchaeus was considered a scandalous man. He was unclean," Scroggins said. "If you came to Zacchaeus on the road you would cross over and walk on the other side. Everybody hated him. … Jesus amazed everybody by going right up to the tree and calling out to Zacchaeus. Surrounded by religious leaders, Jesus chose the worst guy in town and asked to eat lunch at his house."
The first expectation students can learn from Zacchaeus is that Christ wants His followers to recognize their own sin.
"Zacchaeus is an example of someone who knew he was guilty," Scroggins said. "Some of you thought you were leaving behind temptation and sin when you came to college, and you have discovered that you did not. The holiness of God demands that we take our sin seriously."
The second expectation is that students need to reject self-righteousness.
"The Pharisees are so stinking self-righteous," Scroggins said. "By the end of the story, Zacchaeus is repenting, but the crowd is still upset."
Yet, self-righteousness is a danger, even for students preparing for ministry, Scroggins said. There are three ways in which students can fall into the self-righteousness trap.
"First are church critics — students who go from church to church, criticizing the preaching, music, youth leadership or anything," he said. "Second are theological snobs. They go home and turn up their noses because they are so 'smart' now. Third are students who are self-reliantSome students work well with people and accomplish a lot, but then they see their work and become self-reliant. We don't want to exhibit any of these things."
The final expectation gleaned from the example of Zacchaeus is that students should respond correctly to the Savior.
"A correct response involves humility," Scroggins explained. "Zacchaeus had to make a choice to respond to Jesus' call and he did. Let's walk with Jesus every day, and not stop until He comes back."
Humility is especially necessary in a place where students accumulate such wonderful knowledge, Scroggins said.
"Our students need to remember the tension between loving God with all of your mind and the fact that Paul said that knowledge puffs up," Scroggins added. "That is always a tension for Christian scholars. Humility is not an option; it is mandatory for Christian leaders."