During my career in the corporate world the question of education came up from time to time. When I disclosed that my degree was in theology and religion I used to get some pretty strange looks and more than a few questions. “How did you get from religion to sales?” or “What went wrong?”, “Did you fall from grace?”, I would be asked. I had one immediate superior who wrote in my retirement letters ” A degree in theology! Are you kidding me?”. He once told me that he thought this was a waste. “You will never use that knowledge!”
Now, I must admit, the use of ancient greek or latin or archeology seldom came up in the industrial sales game. Not many of my customers knew or especially cared about my educational background and I am fairly certain that no one bought from me because of it. Still, I always bristled at that thought that all education is merely vocational training. There was a time when the study of the humanities, as it called back when dragons roomed the earth, that religion and the arts and the humanities were a prerequisite for all advanced studies. One could not think properly or be morally grounded without being versed in the wisdom of the ages. Of course this was in the days before Wikipedia and the internet. They are right. There is probably no practical application for my unusual history.

Recently, I was contacted by a client who was desirous of a plaque that held the word Hupomeno. She stated that she had heard this word in a sermon and it had come to hold special significance in their family. The word Hupomeno appears more than 20 times in the New Testament. It generally translated as “patience or perseverance”. However, the word has more of a connotation of active waiting and anticipation. In modern vernacular I would translate it as “Keep the Faith” or “Hang in there baby”. Given the fact that the first century church was in pesecution, this is altogher understandable. Because of this meaning of “active anticipation” it is one of those ancient words that has become an iconic symbol for many, particularly evangelical churches. Maranatha (Come Lord Jesus) is another such word, but that is a different plaque. I suggested that we make the plaque in the original greek. “You can do that?”, my client exclaimed. Yes I can do that. This made for a quite unique and interesting piece of work.

It was strange that during the same week I received a phone call from another client who had seen my “Ebenezer” plaque. He was searching for this in Hebrew and wondered if I could do that. Yes I can do that. Now it has been a long time since I studied any hebrew and I never was good at it. Ebenezer plaqueThe last time I interpreted any hebrew, there were no cell phones or any such thing as the internet and computer was that big thing at the Pentagon. But I found this interesting and decided to give it a go. Now, keep in mind that this is actually two words combined in hebrew and of course it is written from right to left. The word is from 1 Samuel and means “Thus far the Lord has helped us”. This name was given to a rock by Samuel that marked the spot of God’s victory over the Philistines. This is another ancient word that has become an iconic symbol of faith. I liked the fact that the simple design to the plaque also gives testimony to the origins of the word.

In my adventure that has become Fishers Laser Carvers, I have been able to revisit the wisdom of my education. I continue to happily revisit the great thinkers and wisdom of the ancients. There is a great need in our world today for wisdom and words of Jesus, Gandhi, Tolstoy, Buddha, Thoreau ,Jefferson, Blake and Burke. As I continue to write my life’s story I think often of the words “You will never use that knowledge!” The Lord does work in mysterious ways.