I consider the calling as a teacher to be one of great
responsibility. In fact, James 3:1 indicates that many should not become
teachers because of the high level of responsibility. In other words, they
should make sure they are called of God and then take it seriously.
However, teachers are only a vehicle to help others in their knowledge and
spiritual growth. They should not be the focus but should direct the focus
upon God. Therefore, they should not make their students dependent upon
them but should provide the necessary tools for continued growth and
service. But teachers should challenge students in order to stimulate
As a woman teacher, I do not attempt to prove my "right" to teach, but I consider myself a person who has been called of God to do so. At the beginning of a course, I just explain the basics of the course and then begin to teach. I do not think I am the focus but a vehicle for the students to learn. If they have a problem at first with my being female, they soon forget about it because they find they are getting excited about learning.
To me, the teaching of sound doctrine and scriptural foundations is very important so that Christians may be strengthened in Godís Word, well-equipped, and ready for His use. Foundational to my teaching is growing in the knowledge of God. As individuals grow in the knowledge of God and focus upon Him, they have a strong desire to worship and praise Him. In so doing, they become more Godlike and Christlike, which in turn provides for meaningful service in Godís kingdom work.
Since God is involved in all of oneís life and should be considered in that manner, it is imperative that education revolve around God, His Word, ways, and principles which should serve to guide oneís daily living. Thus, my philosophy of education at the college level pertains to the idea of imparting knowledge, insight, and principles of God in such a way that what is taught can be understood, retained, and applied in oneís life for effective Christian service no matter the vocation or avocation. Values, principles, and keys to help the interested student find his or her own answers from God and His Word should be instilled; thus, the individual is not dependent upon the teacher, but upon God. However, because lives can be influenced pertaining to eternal values and present actions, the teacher should be called of God to the teaching profession. According to 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11Ė13, God ordained the profession of teaching for the purpose of equipping Christians in ministry and for strengthening and encouraging the body of Christ. Therefore, education is an important area of Christian ministry.
The Scripture which fulfills the burden of my heart, and I believe that of the Apostle Paul, is found in Colossians 1:25Ė29 (NRSV):
25 I became its servant according to Godís commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.
Making God known as I grow in His knowledge is the burden of my heart and the thrust of the ministry God has given me. I apply this perspective to my courses. My goal for each student is that he or she also grows in the knowledge of the Lord and His ways to a greater extent than where that person was at the beginning of the class. Even though I do teach facts, I stress principles and examples with the ability to think and apply them in everyday life. Beginning students usually have a difficult time thinking and would rather just memorize facts, which they soon forget. But I require thinking, and once they catch on, they thank me even after they have graduated. Many students return to say they are applying what they have learned in my classes to their lives and ministry. My type of teaching is challenging, but my philosophy is that if one takes the time to take a class, one ought to be stimulated in growth in order to have something to show for the time spent. After all, we must be about our Fatherís business and become profitable and fruitful servants meet for His use.
In retrospect, a personís whole life prepares one for ministry. What we have learned through lifeís circumstances can be used for the glory of God. We can learn through our mistakes to better help others, since God can turn around our mistakes for good as He did with respect to Joseph and his brothers in Egypt. Plus, we can learn from our successes to help others become fruitful in Godís kingdom work.
The experiences Abraham had throughout his life and interaction with God prepared him for his big test, recorded in Genesis 22. Abraham had learned to trust God so much that he was willing to obey God and offer his son Isaac on an altar. Hebrews 11:17-19 records that Abraham still trusted that his descendants of promise would be through Isaac even if God had to raise Isaac from the dead. And Abraham showed by his action that God was more important to him than the gift from God, even if the gift was Isaac, his son of promise.
Abrahamís action, as recorded in Genesis 22, reveals the idea of "Birth and Death of a Vision," which I first heard about at a Bill Gothard seminar years ago. The concept is that God first of all gives or births a vision or burden in someoneís heart for a specific ministry. But the situation becomes such that there is no possible way of fulfillment, so the vision dies. However, at some point, God resurrects the ministry and receives the glory. Isaac was considered as dead; yet Isaac was the son of promise through whom Abraham would have many descendants and the world would be blessed. But as Abraham was obedient, God in a sense resurrected Isaac from death by providing a substitute ram to be offered on the altar.
With respect to the vision or burden I believed God placed in my heart in the first place, this possibility died after I received my doctorate. But then God resurrected the teaching ministry for me, and He receives the glory. Even after Bethany decided to close down the Sacramento satellite, God resurrected again the ministry of teaching for me by providing the ministry of Reyah Bible College. Sometimes a vision dies and is not resurrected, but then God provides something better for us in its place. But wherever we are, we need to "bloom where we are planted," in other words, we need to let our lives glorify God and be useful wherever we find ourselves in life. There is always a place to serve Him, and we should do it with our might. Sometimes the least significant things in human eyes are very important to God and are of lasting value. We should never stop learning and being as prepared as we can be to serve God.
Actually, our main calling is to glorify God and be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We can do that wherever we are. A summary of being Christlike is the summary of the Ten Commandments that Jesus gave to His disciples:
Luke 10:27 (NRSV)
But whatever we do, we must be about our Fatherís business. A introductory comment of Vernon C. Grounds in Alan F. Johnsonís commentary on Romans (Romans, The Freedom Letter, vol. 1, Chicago: Moody Press, 1984, pg. 5), sums up the idea:
In conclusion, I want to mention the fact that I donít live or base my life on prophecies. I even forgot about most of them and just went about my Fatherís business, doing what seemed right so to do and what was in my pathway to do. I never sought prophecies in the first place, but they came to me.
On January 30, 2004, as I was reviewing the notes I had taken pertaining to the prophetic words from many friends over the years, I was amazed at how specific the prophecies were and how most of the details have been fulfilled. They verified Godís amazing guidance in my life, and I was impressed to share about this interaction of God in a book of my life to encourage and bless others. So here it is.