His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come, and share your master's happiness!"
Recently, my family attends the dedication ceremony of three resident halls on the Emory - Oxford College campus in the small, historic town of Oxford, Georgia. We are guests of honor as one of those halls is named after my father, William H. (Bill) Murdy.
Dad's career began at Emory University in Atlanta, or "Big Emory" as the Oxford College folks refer to it. He taught biology for over 30 years, serving multiple times as chairman of the department. Time and again, Dad found himself in situations which called for true servant leadership (you can read a detailed description of what it means to be a servant-leader at my friend, Andy Wood's, blog Lifevesting). His talents were noticed. Really noticed.
My brother, Bill, affectionately recounts the day when the president of Emory tapped our father to be the new dean of the then struggling Oxford College.
"Can you give me a few weeks to think about it?" Dad asked as this would mean a huge life-shift for him.
"I'll give you all the time you need," the president assured him, "as long as your answer is 'yes.'"
And, as they say, the rest is history. Dad served as dean of Oxford College from 1987 until he retired in 1999. In those 12 years, the college saw a massive transformation for the better.
Why? Because Dad let with vision, confidence, and respect for all who worked with him. He valued their input. He listened attentively. Everyone had a role to play. Everyone was an important part of the Oxford team.
Dad never asked anyone to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself. He was never too busy to lend a helping hand or give requested advice. He practiced the art of civil discourse, and compromise when necessary.
But, as the speaker noted when recalling Dad's qualities: "Dean Murdy never compromised on his values."
Nor, should we.
As Christians, we are called to carry Christ's message of love into the world, but not be of the world. We are called to be good and faithful servants, in tasks both large and small. If we are following our Lord, we are loving Him with our whole hearts and loving others as ourselves.
Dad's life and work reflected this Golden Rule. The beautiful residence hall may bear his name, but his legacy of love, leadership, and service are written on countless hearts of Oxford graduates, faculty, and staff.
And, on the heart of God . . .
Well done, Dad! Well done!
At this point in my posts, I usually leave a question for you. Today, I leave you with photographs from this day's events taken by my husband, Danny. Enjoy!
It was a windy day, and these coverings of photos and plaques kept trying to blow away.
My brother, Bill, and mom, Nancy, talking with Oxford folks.
Waiting for the ceremony to start.
Dean Stephen Bowen is the first speaker.
Joe Moon, Dean of Campus Life, was hired by my Dad and is still faithfully serving the college.
Michele Sheets, Director of Residential Education & Services
Bill and I holding etched glass tributes to our father's legacy. Very emotional . . .
Virginia Rose was so well behaved during the ceremony.
Three generations enjoying the beautiful day.
The residence hall
Love this photo of my dad . . .
Will you pray with me?
Dear Father, create in us the heart of a servant, that we may love and serve You with our whole hearts and love others as ourselves. We thank You for the lives and legacies of other Christians who have inspired us in our faith walk. May we one day hear You say of our earthly lives, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" Amen.
Postscript: After seeing the photos, some of you may be wondering why my father is not at the ceremony. Unfortunately, or, perhaps, fittingly, as Dad always hated being "fussed over," his Alzheimer's has progressed to the point where he can no longer leave the house.