“Remember, class, curiosity is always favorable to convenience.” Clark clicked his pen and wrote: Curiosity is always favorable to convenience, on his clipboard under the heading, “Remark of the Day,” for Ms. Rapscott to use at Morning Meeting.Elise Primavera, Ms. Rapscott’s Girls, 155.
At Dallas Seminary, everyone was intimated by Dr. Wallace. After all, who wouldn’t be intimidated by the guy who wrote the gigantic Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament.
The basics of Greek are scary enough, say nothing of going beyond.
He had dark poofy hair, quite curly, graying in places. Goatee; reading glasses perched so that he could stare at us over them; a denim shirt with back slacks and shoes (everyday, we noticed). An intensity about his face even when he was just walking around campus.
He taught the upper level electives for the New Testament students who were Greek geeks. He had a squadron of interns researching his ideas and perpetuating the legend of his classes.
I swallowed hard and signed up for Intermediate Greek with the Guy Who Wrote the Textbook.
First day, you’ve never seen a batch of students look more scared. He came in and gave an intimidating First Day Talk about what we should expect–that it was going to be hard but immensely rewarding. That we should expect to have more homework than we were used to–that we should come prepared to translate and parse at his whim as he would have our names memorized and would call on us at random. Beads of sweat were forming on our brows (thankfully, nothing worse than sweat was involuntarily leaving our bodies).
Luckily, one of his interns was in the class. Wallace called on him at least twice as often as everyone else. They say one’s name is sweet music to one’s ears–in his class, it was the other students’ names that sounded like music to me.
We soon learned that for all his intensity–we were dealing with a man who was humble, who deeply loved Our Lord, who was passionate about the Bible, was a true pioneer in his field, and who still had time to know and care for his students–their hopes, their dreams, their families, their fears, their future ministries. He had a sparkle in his eye, a great laugh, and an ever present sense that the work we were doing was relevant, and for a much greater end than Greek itself. The class was difficult–and very, very good.
He exhorted us to stay curious. He said that one of the most important marks of an excellent scholar or pastor is curiosity. This is inconvenient, because it often means more work. It must also be bounded by love–for knowledge is not a badge or a weapon but is to be put in service to Christ, His Church, His World.
So, when our family–listening to the audiobook, Ms. Rapscott’s Girls–heard Ms. Rapscott tell her class that “Curiosity is always favorable to convenience,” I heard Dr. Wallace. I got out of my seat, walked over to the white board in our family room (in the homeschool area with all the desks), and wrote the quote on the board.
Stay curious. your education is never over. The world is full of glorious, wonderful things that propel worship and friendship. Stay curious–it might be the long way round–but totally worth it.