KNOXVILLE— On Wednesday night, the fourth main session for Homecoming week kicked off with a beat, a strum, and a chorus line to get the audience’s attention to the stage.
The praise band for the evening featured Bill Wolf and Kristi Gilmore as they returned to the stage to sing such songs as “Good, Good Father,” and “Lord, I Need You.” For anyone in the room during this main session, the voices of the alumni echoed in synchrony with praises of God through song.
Following that was the Parade of Flags, which serves to distinguish the current students of Johnson who represent countries outside of the United States.
Jack Downer, a senior at Johnson, read scripture before the main speaker of the night came onto stage.
David Legg then introduced the main speaker for the night, David Eubanks. Legg spoke briefly of Eubank’s time at Johnson with heartfelt words.
Mr. Eubanks grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, and he married the love-of-his-life, Margaret, in 1955. Around 1958, Mr. Eubanks graduated with a master’s degree in Theology from Johnson. He then went on to be the president of Johnson University from 1969-2007. He preached at Woodlawn Christian Church for 12 years, and he is notorious for working endlessly for Christ’s Kingdom. Eubanks finally returned home to Tennessee after being in Kissimmee, Florida and retired in December of 2015.
Mr. Eubank’s message of the night was focused around the theme: “When the Calling Becomes Toilsome.” He started off by quoting Paul in I Corinthians and commenting on how that scripture is all about working for God and with God.
Eubanks goes on to tell a narrative of how he knew how to work hard ever since he was a little boy. Eubanks would spend his time growing up as a newspaper delivery boy, a janitor, and even a grocery store clerk.
Following that, Eubanks dove right into the main point that even Jesus knew what turmoil was from the very beginning of time. “Even Jesus’ calling,” Eubanks said, “became toilsome.”
The message of the night then went on to discuss how the human response to such turmoil can be described by using words as distress, tired, and being stuck down. Eubanks claimed that experiencing the turmoil of the call of God is not foreign.
“When work becomes toilsome, do not lose heart,” Eubanks said. He commented right after by saying that phrase is easier said than done. However, according to Mr. Eubanks, the answer is in God’s grace.
Eubanks ended with wise words by saying that turmoil can make one stronger, and that the testing of faith produces perfect patience.
His wife, Margret, then came out onto stage and delivered a short poem about a boy finding hope and strength to finish a race. The theme of the poem was that winning is no more than rising each time one falls.
Richard Clark, vice president for external relations, followed Mrs. Eubanks. He discussed how blessed he was to be welcomed into the Johnson family. He noted that as an outsider looking in, he clearly saw the grace within Johnson University.
Clark went on to talk about an update in a campaign entitled, “Investing in the Unseen.” This campaign was established by the university in order to achieve several things. The campaign itself is used to lessen the burden of tuition rates, to enhance facilities on campus, and to stabilize Johnson for years to come. The campaign is trying to reach a goal of $15 million dollars. The campaign has currently received $9.1 million so far.
The fourth main session for Homecoming week ended with an offering time that would benefit the “Investing in the Unseen” campaign.
Homecoming sessions can be live streamed or reviewed here.