Years ago I was a student at Dallas Seminary. At the time, we had a new president named Chuck Swindoll. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Dr. Swindoll has a nationwide radio broadcast and has authored numerous Christian books.
The presidential inauguration of Dr. Swindoll was held at Prestonwood Baptist Church, a sprawling mega-church in Dallas. I brought three friends to this gala event. But when we arrived they had roped off most of the seating. We wound up high in the balcony. A few minutes before the ceremony was to start an usher told us they were removing the ropes and we could come down. My friends found some good seats about half-way back, but I saw room for four on the second row. As Bob Uecker used to say, “Down on the Front Row. “ We squeezed in and it became apparent we were in high cotton. The suits on our row were expensive. Tom Landry, former Dallas Cowboy head coach was right in front of us. James Dobson was just across the isle. These were the good seats.
A few minutes later a husband and wife arrived and they had to squeeze into a small space in front of us. She seemed perturbed. A couple of times she turned to look at us. I felt like she was glaring. I thought, “Some people can be so rude. What’s her problem? Oh well, she should have gotten here sooner if she wanted a good seat like us.”
The pageant unfolded and all the presidents of major universities paraded in, in full regalia. They sat up in the choir loft. Harvard and Yale were represented. I was impressed. Two concert pianists played on matching Steinways. Various nationally known speakers took turns at the podium.
Eventually Dr. Swindoll came to the rostrum. He talked about the seminary, and then he said, “You know, great seminaries don’t happen without great trustees. I’d like to recognize our trustees . And with that he pointed right at us, “Will the trustees of the seminary please stand.” Everyone around us stood up. Including the disgruntled lady. Now I know why she was mad. I was sitting in her seat!
The worm had suddenly turned. I was the interloper, not her. Isn’t it funny how we can think one thing and then the truth reveals a different tale? That’s why we have to be careful about jumping to conclusions. Things aren’t always as they first appear. I was reminded again of Jesus’ words in John 7:24
24 Stop judging by the way things look, but judge by what is really right.” New Century Version