I was driving down I-85 the other day when I pulled up behind a large 18 wheeler. I could not help but notice on the back of the shiny red truck an inscription printed in large letters, “OUR MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE SITS 63 FEET AHEAD!” Out of curiosity, I pulled up beside the truck and noticed that it was owned by Crete Carrier in Lincoln Nebraska. As I looked on the side of the truck there was a big arrow pointing to the driver with large letters, “THIS IS OUR MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE!”

When I waved to the driver, a big smile came across his face. I could tell immediately that he was pleased that his company back home in Lincoln had let everyone know from Nebraska to Alabama that he was a person of great worth and genuinely appreciated. As I read those two inscriptions on the back and sides of that shiny 18 wheeler, there were two things that immediately came to my mind in my role as the volunteer President of our Scholarship Foundation:

I. Encouragement of Our Seminary Students. Elton Trueblood, the late President of Yokefellows, always reminded his readers that one of the greatest gifts that any of us can give does not cost a solitary dime and that is the gift of encouragement. Trueblood reminded us that the word "encourage” containing the Latin word “cour” meaning “heart” literally means “to put heart into someone.” One of the pleasant surprises that I have discovered in raising money for our seminary students is that, oftentimes, the money that our seminary students so gratefully receive is only half of the gift. When they are 500 miles away from home, they are equally touched that someone whom they may never know loves them, cares deeply about them, and wants to encourage them.

2. Importance of Effective Pastors Providing Leadership. Our sole mission is to encourage and provide support for our seminary students who are preparing to serve churches within our Alabama-West Florida Conference. I am sure that there are some rare exceptions, but I have personally never known a strong church filled with excitement and enthusiasm that did not have someone sitting in the driver’s seat as an eff ective pastor. That effective pastor might be a Phi Beta Kappa graduate or a high school dropout. He/she might be an elder or a local pastor. However, if that pastor genuinely loves Jesus, loves others, and longs for the church to truly be the body of Jesus Christ in the world, that pastor will be effective. Our sole mission as a Foundation is to provide an opportunity for each of our recipients to be as eff ective as they can possibly be! As you travel down the highway towards your church, just remember, “Our Most Valuable Resource Sits in The Pulpit Chair 63 Feet Ahead!”

Karl K. Stegall