Rudebock Speaks on Business Window in Stained Glass Series

“The man who had received five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.”

From that passage in the Gospel of Matthew, Dr. Rich Rudebock opened his address to Oklahoma Baptist University students on Raley Chapel’s Business window during OBU’s weekly chapel service, Nov. 16.

“This window, along with all the others, was installed in 1961 when the chapel was built and cost approximately $2,000. That is equivalent to $12,473.93 in today’s dollars,” said Rudebock, dean of the university’s Paul Dickinson School of Business and newly installed holder of the Lloyd G. and Betty E. Minter Chair of Business.

Beginning with the bottom panel of the window, Rudebock pointed out the symbols of a torch, books, a mortar board, and a lamp of learning. He mentioned how they represent the vital role of education in modern business, including its impact on developing a productive workforce and promoting growth and research.

The second panel from the bottom features images of factories, graphs and charts, representing industrial production, while a head of wheat stands for agricultural production. The head of wheat was included in honor of J. Lloyd Ford, of the Shawnee Milling Company, a benefactor of OBU and the namesake of the university’s Ford Music Hall.

Rudebock continued analyzing the window, acknowledging the ticker-tape that winds through the second and third panels of the window, symbolizing investment and finance in modern business.

An airmail envelope, rabbit ear television antenna, a newspaper, telephone, broadcast tower, telegraph key, and the dot dash symbols of Morse code all signify communication in the third, fourth and fifth panels of the window.

The fifth and sixth panels of the window highlight transportation, providing images of a train, a steamboat, a car, a rocket, and an airplane. Also pictured are two traffic lights, which Rudebock hypothesizes were included to encourage onlookers to either get moving or to slow down.

The significance of reliable sources of energy for a productive economy are depicted in the seventh panel, which is dominated by an illustration of a simple steam-run power plant consisting of a boiler and turbines generating electricity to power a light bulb. Representing other sources of energy are the symbol for atomic power, and a coal car which provides a source of energy for factories.

The business window is capped with the image of the acorn and the oak leaf, signifying the phenomenal growth of American business and industry from small beginnings. It is inspired by the saying, “tall oaks from little acorns grow.”

“Don’t miss opportunities that God and this school have given you to invest in the most significant work you can be involved in,” said Rudebock. “Take ethical business principles, regardless of your major, and use them to literally change the world for God’s glory.”