What typically happens when your teacher catches you goofing off in class? In most cases your teacher will either throw a very long glare from the front of the classroom or call you out in the middle of the lecture. Normally you wouldn’t expect your teacher to take you out for lunch after you’ve been goofing off during the lecture.
Greek III is the kind of class where you start to delve into the more minute details of language study, and during one particular class hour I started to move into “ADD” mode. I don’t usually have an attention deficit, but once we started talking about “aspect” and “aktionsart” in relation to the Greek verb – my attention plummeted. This sudden plunge of attention to Dr. Decker’s lecture eventually culminated in reaching for my iTouch during the lecture (again, not characteristic for me at all).
My Greek professor Dr. Rodney J. Decker is a genius. You can find his Greek textbooks on Amazon.com. He knows Macbooks better than anyone I know. He wrote his doctoral dissertation for D.A. Carson, one of the top theological scholars in America today. And he can also spot a student using his iTouch during his lectures.
Dr. Decker calmly said my name once. I looked up sheepishly, and put my iTouch back in my pocket. Dr. Decker said no more about the incident until a few days later. I was hanging out with a friend of mine in the dorm one night when I got a new e-mail in my inbox. The sender line said “Rod Decker,” and I thought that I was about to receive a polite but firm e-mail of positive reprimand. This was not the case.
Instead, Dr. Decker told me how uncharacteristic it was for me to not pay attention in class. He asked if there was anything wrong and offered for me to reply with any questions I might have – which I did. I was honest with him and told him that I had been struggling to understand why an M.Div. degree was considered profitable for pastors. I didn’t quite understand. His response was an invitation to lunch that following Wednesday.
Dr. Decker took me out to Quizno’s and answered my questions. He asked me what God was doing in my life and what I perceived to be my future in ministry. That was how I was rewarded for goofing off in class, something I never plan on doing again… maybe.