If you are wondering if God has plans for you as a teacher in “all the world,” then maybe this short evaluation will help you make a choice (Matt. 28:18-20).
Growing up, I had a lot of dreams about what I wanted to be. Having read accounts of Albert Schweitzer and his outstanding work in my school studies, I was inspired to adopt lots of children the way he had. Children are helpless without someone to stand for them, but my lack of connections or money would not make that dream possible. Some time later, I set my sights to be a fabric designer or a schoolteacher. I loved to paint and would eventually teach art, music and English in more than one state. The philosopher part of my career would not blossom like I thought it might because my husband to be would have his own ideas and plans. However, there was one career that was never on my radar.
I never seriously considered being, or marrying, anyone who lived on foreign soil even though I admired Albert Schweitzer very much. Maybe that was because Albert Schweitzer was only in LIFE MAGAZINE or POST; he was not ‘real.’ Our family did have a favorite cousin whose husband had worked and died in South Africa and who had written and published book about it. As a young girl, accounts of her life seemed brutal—too harsh to my taste.
Not that living outside the state of Texas was a bad thing, I just saw the ones who left home as those who weren’t real. Reading that Schweitzer was living in a grass hut when a goat had come during the night to eat the paper on which he had just written a symphony made me cringe. Dedicated men and women who chose to “go into all the world) had to live differently than everyone else. It just wasn’t something I saw myself doing. It wasn’t something I could ever see myself capable of doing.
As I was growing up, my family was well known in the community; to me, dad and mother were strong leaders and sages all rolled into one. My dad’s career was not like most other men’s. He was set apart as a Government employee for soil conservation and a prudent landowner too—not wealthy, but comfortable.
It’s really comforting to know God has a way of guiding our paths (Prov. 20:24; Eph. 1:11-12). During my childhood I went to church because my mom and dad loved the Lord and his people, and because that was just what we did. We never missed. I loved going to church too and enjoyed answering questions in Bible classes. When I was 14, one of the elders approached me to see if I would be willing to teach a class of fourth graders during vacation Bible school the next morning. I don’t remember why they asked me at the last minute, but likely it was because the main teacher became ill. Something in me said, “Beth, you can do this,” and so I did. Looking back now, I am sure my parents prayed a lot for me that week.
The seed was planted.
Before that, I had never once thought about being a Bible class teacher but that little request would be a mustard seed planted in my heart that would be watered in the coming years.
When I went away to college at age 18, I happily took a regular Wednesday evening class of 20 little first graders at another elder’s request.
It was that group of kids that really captured my heart.
It was during that semester of my life that I dedicated my “heart and mind” to do whatever God wanted me to do.