A Seminary President Sits Down with a Facilities Worker to Talk Faith and Work

This was originally posted by the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

There are only two people with permanent, personally designated parking spots on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. As you would expect, one is for the president, Dr. Danny Akin.

The other spot is for Mr. Eugene Smith, the 88 year-old man who works for facilities.

Mr. Eugene, as he is affectionately known, has been working at Southeastern for more than thirty-five years. He started working for the school about the age many people are thinking of early retirement, but he doesn’t really know what retirement is.

It isn’t just longevity that makes Mr. Eugene special, though.

Faithful to Calling, No Matter the Position on the Org Chart

Every day he makes the rounds to the buildings on campus in his golf cart, emptying recycling bins and picking up trash. He does the same job day in and day out with a smile on his face and always ready with a kind word. Some people say seeing Mr. Eugene and hearing his cheerful greeting is the high point of the day.

Last year Mr. Eugene and Dr. Akin were interviewed together as a part of a course on the doctrine of vocation at Southeastern. The two men with their own parking spots­ – the top man at the seminary and one near the bottom of the organizational chart – sat down together to talk about how their faith integrates with their work.

Amazingly, there isn’t much difference between the two men. One has a PhD and has written a number of books; one only finished elementary school and picks up trash.

Both have been faithful to their calling in life.

Akin noted,

In God’s providence he’s put each of us where we are to do what he’s called us to do. I’d be the first to say…I don’t think my job is any more ordained or sanctified than what Eugene does.

All work has value, something Akin really believes.

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Topics: Service Sector

About the Author

Andrew Spencer is a Ph.D. student studying Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously served in the United States Navy as a Submarine Officer after graduating from the United States Naval Academy.