Last week in chapel, Dr. Michael Wittmer spoke from 2 Corinthians 12:11 and challenged our community to be fully present with others, which means more than we might think at first. Dr. Wittmer challenged listeners not to merely give altruistically, expecting nothing in return. Instead, when we love and serve others, we should hope for something in return—a mutual relationship.

Here’s how Dr. Wittmer put it:

If we only give ourselves to someone, we could actually be treating them as our ministry, as our project, not someone that we want to actually be friends with, not someone that we actually care about. And when they figure that out—that we don’t really want them; we just want to serve them—we’re done, right? They’ll feel dirty, used. And if we’ve been claiming to serve them on behalf of Jesus, their connection with God might be in trouble too.

The theme in chapel this semester is “An Appropriate Presence: Living as the People of God” and seeks to explore how we should pursue that kind of presence. This appropriate presence means more than one-way relationships where we serve someone and go back to life as usual. It means seeking genuine, mutual relationships with the people we serve.


Dr. Michael Wittmer is professor of systematic and historical theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has published several book including two on new creation theology—”Worldly Saints: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life?” (Zondervan, 2015) and “Heaven Is A Place on Earth: Why Everything You Do Matters To God” (Zondervan, 2004).