Adamson began by talking about anxiety. As he wondered what his Erskine audience was waiting to hear from him, he experienced “a twinge of anxiety.”
He acknowledged some of the worries afflicting students. “You may be struggling with anxiety about grades, or your finances,” he told them, adding that some might be homesick and some, especially seniors, might be wondering about what they will do when they graduate.
Taking as his scripture text Matthew 6:25-34, a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Adamson noted that in these verses Jesus enjoins his listeners not to worry, but cautioned against a “name it and claim it” interpretation of the passage.
The president cited a phrase in verse 33—“Seek first God’s kingdom and all these things will be added to you”—and stressed that to seek is to be active. “We don’t get out and seek by sitting still,” he said. “You can’t just sit back and be lazy.”
Adamson recalled occasions in his life when he dealt with anxiety and discovered God’s provision, the first of these when he was about the age of the students in his audience.
About to graduate from college and engaged to be married, he was anxious about finding a job. He had submitted applications and had even been interviewed, but he had not been hired.
Meanwhile, it had slipped his mind that he had applied to a master’s program in mathematics at his undergraduate school. He got a call informing him that he could be paid for teaching while studying for his master’s degree.
“I was stewing and fretting and anxious and nervous, but God had plans,” Adamson said.
Later, through multiple changes, including moves back and forth across the country, various jobs, and different programs of graduate study, Adamson and his wife learned that “When you begin to seek God and His kingdom, not what you want to do, the paths He takes you on are not so fearful.”
The president offered some advice to students navigating their college experience. “Start having a real prayer conversation with God,” he said. “Pray, read scripture, seek out believers—friends who follow Christ, who have a heart to follow Christ more fully.”
Adamson told students that college is preparing them for a calling. Based on decades of experience—thinking in the 1980s that computer science would be his field, then teaching mathematics, on through other graduate studies, theology degrees, and jobs in higher education—he said, “Give yourself fully to God for Him to use you when and where He will.”
Dr. Steven C. Adamson was recently named Erskine’s 18th president. Educated at the University of Nebraska, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in mathematics, he did doctoral work in operations research at George Washington University, completed an M.Div. at Sangre de Cristo Seminary, and was awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.