Michelle is a member of Hull Protestant Reformed Church in Hull, Iowa. She wrote is article for the 2001 Protestant Reformed Scholarship
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith, Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching…” (Romans 12:4-7).
God has given each of His people a place in the body of Christ and gifts to use for the benefit of others. As I take my place in the body, I must examine the gifts He has given me and develop them so that I can best serve others in the kingdom of God. One of the gifts that God has given me to put to use among His people is the gift of teaching, and I am studying to become a teacher in order to serve God and the people around me.
Each time an infant is baptized in our church, I am reminded of my calling to be an active servant. As the parents stand to answer the questions, the third question is also directed to me and the other members of the congregation. The parents answer, “Yes,” also for me when they promise “to see these children when come to the years of discretion (whereof you are either parent or witness), instructed and brought up in the aforesaid doctrine, or help or cause them to be instructed therein, to the utmost of your power.” This applies to each church member and is a serious calling for me and other teachers. As I make this promise and develop the gifts I have been given, it becomes clear to me that I must be a teacher in a Protestant Reformed School.
Since children are included in the covenant, they are to be respected and cared for along with other members of the church. As fellow-partakers with me of God’s grace, I love the children and care about their growth and development. As John writes (III John verse 4), “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” As they develop intellectually, our covenant children must also recognize God’s presence and power all around them and show spiritual growth. I am excited and eager to share the passion and joy of God that is in me by being an instrument of God enabling students to see God’s Providence in His creation. God is my peace, hope, and joy, and the thankfulness for the blessings He gives me naturally overflows to the children, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).
Because I see how God’s Providence upholds all His creation, I want to teach children to also be able to see Him in all the subjects they learn in school. In a Protestant Reformed School I would be able to show students in a science class how God created and upholds His Creation and makes it work so perfectly and efficiently. They can also be reminded of God’s grace and brought to humility as they see the vastness of creation and its intricacies on a microscopic level and stand in awe, wondering, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Palm 8:4). In a math class students discover the orderliness and patterns God created as they discover number patterns. His hand can also be seen guiding people throughout the history of the world, always working for the good of those who love Him and showing His power over even the greatest world powers. In a geography class students can learn not only about the physical and cultural environments of many people, but also learn about how people from every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation were redeemed to God by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 5:9).
When people in a secular environment ask me where I want to teach I often say I want to teach in a Christian school, not bothering to explain that I want to teach in a Protestant Reformed School, since they do not comprehend the difference between our schools and other Christian schools. Even within Christian circles it is difficult for people to understand that our Protestant Reformed Schools are very important to me and that they are different from other Christian schools. It is important to me to teach in a Protestant Reformed School so I can share my faith and beliefs completely, without compromising views that might oppose what others would teach. Attending a Christian college has made me more aware of the differences between the views our churches hold and the ideas of other denominations, and has made me desire even more to become a teacher in our schools, showing our children the truth and encouraging them to learn and internalize the truths of God’s Word.
In a Protestant Reformed School I would whole-heartedly agree with the principles and doctrines being upheld and be able to teach the children as the parents would teach them at home. I would not be immersed in a teaching environment filled with views such as evolution, but would be able to help students to see God’s creativity and power in creating everything out of nothing in six days. Common grace would be refuted; students would be taught to treasure God’s amazing grace in the predestination of His people and learn to be discerning as they live in this world, whose culture is the opposite, the antithesis, of a Christ-like life. False views of the end of the world would be opposed as students anticipate His Kingdom coming, gender issues would be repudiated and students would appreciate the unique places and roles God has given men and women in His Kingdom, and students would learn the importance of witnessing in modern culture, letting their lights shine in the world without compromising the Gospel.
A teacher must stand in the place of the parents while teaching the children of the covenant. I want to teach in a Protestant Reformed School because God has given me the gifts needed to teach His children in the place of parents and with the help of the parents I want to work along with parents to bring up their children in the fear of the Lord, because to “fear God and keep His commandments…is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). As I develop the talents God has given me, I do so not for my own benefit, but for the building up of the church, which I can do by teaching children that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). Parents and teachers work together to raise up the children of the covenant in the ways of the Lord. I desire to take up my calling in the church by teaching the youth about God and His dominion over all aspects of creation as they learn to take their places in His Kingdom, striving to live for their King.
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). As I seek to sacrifice myself to God, I recognize my calling to fulfill His will by teaching in a Protestant Reformed School, having His Word, commands, and love on my heart. My calling is that “thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
“Come, ye children, hearken unto me I will teach you the fear of the Lord” ( Psalm 34:11). I will do this by being an example in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity” (I Timothy 4:12) as a teacher in the Protestant Reformed schools.