Martin Marty

Audio / Produced by The High Calling


Hugo F. Sonnenschein, president of the University of Chicago, tells an inspiring story about Professor Martin Marty.

At a White House ceremony to award Marty the National Humanities Medal, President Clinton joked that the professor almost didn’t show up. Most people, including the president, were unaware that Marty really did consider skipping the event—because he was scheduled to teach that day. In thirty-four years of teaching at the University, he missed only twelve classes—an astonishing record. Martin Marty's commitment to teaching was legendary. Awards took a distant second to the professor's students.

This is Howard Butt, Jr., of Laity Lodge. Martin Marty's devotion reminds us: recognition is a byproduct, but never the priority, in the high calling of our daily work.

"You call me 'Teacher ' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him."

(John 13:13-16)

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