Pastor Troy’s Column

February 15, 2023

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Back in college I had a History professor that everyone loved. His name was Dr. Auffenberg. (Yes, I think Dr. was his first name. He was that smart.)

Doc Auf, as we would affectionately call him, was what you might call a “push-over professor.” His classes were always notoriously easy. Tests were open book. He gave essay assignments months ahead of time. And quizzes were community quizzes. He liked for us to talk so on the quizzes he turned it into a game for the whole class.

But there was a mischievous side to Doc Auf. On one test a semester he would make it extremely hard. He would never tell us which test it would be, so we always had to study for each one. Sometimes people were caught off guard. Doc Auf’s easy going nature and fun classroom atmosphere built up a reputation of a blow off class and then suddenly, Bam! A 200 question fill in the blank test with an essay at the end.

On these test days, Doc Auf would suspend the community rules and anyone caught discussing their answers automatically failed the test.

I helped out in the History Department sometimes and I always knew when Doc Auf gave one of these tests. There was a line of students going around the hallway waiting to see him. And they were all mad.

One day after hearing all sorts of comments from the students about taking him to the college board or dropping the class, I asked Doc Auf why he did the hard test day.

“People love you,” I said. “Now you have a whole line of students waiting to argue with you.”

Doc Auf smiled and said, “I know, Troy. But that's why I do it. So they will come see me.”

You see, Doc Auf wasn’t the kind of professor that just had you in class and couldn’t remember your name. He wanted to be actively involved with his student’s lives. When one of the angry ones would come in, the first thing he asked them was, “How are you doing in school? Do you need any help or anyone to talk to?”

By the time the conversation was over, Doc Auf would send a happy student away with the name of a counselor or an administrative advisor or student aid contact.

At the end of the semester, he’d always round the test grade up so no one got a failing grade. But there was that suspense for a while. And, his students always studied hard for his tests.

I think in life we need more people like Doc Auf. Especially when we’re mad. People who would listen and care and help and give advice. People who err on the side of grace and show kindness in the midst of diversity.

Sound familiar?

That’s the kind of person God is calling you to be.

So this day, take a moment to be involved in someone’s life in a positive way. Show them love, in every situation.
Let us pray.

Dear God, we come to you this day with happy hearts. We are filled with joy because we know You love us. We ask for opportunities to spread that joy to those around us. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


Pastor Troy is the pastor of DeWitt & St. Charles United Methodist Church. You can read his daily devotionals at their Facebook Page: