During my early years as a pastor, it was my regular practice to have my mentor, Dr. Howard Giddens, come to our church to lead our January Bible Study. Dr. Giddens, who is now 95 years old, was my teacher at Mercer University in the late 1970s. Before accepting a teaching post at Mercer he served three Georgia Baptist churches as pastor. Dr. Giddens is the epitome of a pastor/scholar.
He also has a sense of humor. During one of those January Bible Studies he shared the following story with us. It is classic.
A young seminary graduate was seeking to pastor his first church. One pulpit committee requested an interview. As the student and the committee gathered together, the chairman began the questioning. “Young man, do you know your Bible?” The young man replied, “Yes sir. I know the Bible from front to back.” Another asked, “Do you know the stories and parables?” The candidate answered, “Oh yes! I know all the stories and parables.” Another committee member said, “Tell us one of the parables of Jesus—let’s say the parable of the Good Samaritan.”
And so he did. It went like this.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, who went down to Jericho by night and he fell among stony ground. And the thorns rose up and choked him nearly half to death. He said, ‘What shall I do?’ Then he said, ‘I shall arise and go to my father’s house.’ And he arose, and climbed up into a sycamore tree. The next day Solomon and his wife Gomorrah came by, and they carried him down to the ark for Moses to take care of him. And as he was going through the eastern gate into the ark, he caught his hair in a limb and he hung there for 40 days and 40 nights.
And afterwards, he hungered and the ravens came and fed him. The next day the three wise men came and carried him down to Nineveh. And when he got down there, he found Delilah sitting on the wall. He cried out, ‘Chunk her down, boys.’ And they said, ‘How many times shall we chunk her down, unto seven times?’ And he said, ‘Nay, but unto seventy times seven.’ So they chunked her down, 490 times. Then she burst asunder in their midst, and they picked up twelve baskets of her fragments. And they asked him, ‘Lord, in the resurrection, whose wife will she be?’”
The pulpit committee chairman said, “Folks, I think we ought to call him. I know he’s young, but he sure knows his Bible.”