By Alexis Savary
Dr. Todd Nelson, associate professor in the Northwest University College of Business, spoke at this semester’s final Last Lecture. Nelson’s preference on the title of “Brother Nelson” shows his love for the family of brothers and sisters in Christ.
“I enjoy being called Brother Nelson because it’s familial,” Nelson said.
Speaking from a perspective of familial and brotherly love, Nelson discussed the importance of accepting weaknesses and embracing the opportunity to be vulnerable with others.
Nelson started the lecture by passing around an unlabeled can to the audience. After some futile guessing by audience members, it was revealed to be a can of Campbell’s Jazzy Jambalaya soup. Nelson used this visual aid to illustrate that without labels, it is difficult to be sure of what lies inside without going directly to the source and opening it up.
Nelson emphasized that when things are mislabeled, it becomes very difficult to determine the truth. He explained that as part of the business world, he notices a frequently misconception that riches are equivalent to money. However, this label that society has placed on the word “riches” distracts from the greater meanings it could have.
“A lot of times we put riches into dollar signs—that’s a lie,” Nelson said.
As an example, Nelson recalled a story of a conversation he had with his son. In their discussion, Nelson explained that he was the richest man in the world because of the love of his family and his faith.
As a metaphor for earthly life, Nelson explained that life is like a tapestry. Living in an imperfect world is messy, unpredictable, and problematic, such as the back side of a tapestry, he explained. However, when the tapestry is flipped over and life has ended, the other side is a picture of beauty.
“When we go home to heaven, the Lord is going to turn the tapestry of our life around to just a beautiful picture, but on this side, it’s got all these knots and strings and things going all different directions,” Nelson said.
Lastly, Nelson challenged students to look at love through the eyes of Jesus. Reading from John chapters 13-16 in The Message version, Nelson emphasized the idea of loving others. Because love remains at the center of all of the greatest commandments, it is vital to understand how Jesus commands us to love.
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other” quoted from John 13:34-35 (MSG).
Nelson challenged believers to love openly and fully. He desired for students to understand the gift of being chosen as part of the Christian family, and encouraged people to live richly in love. Nelson ended the night by reading John 17, which is Jesus’ prayer for his followers.