Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
I grew up in Sussex County, Virginia in the 1950s and 1960s when the entire community respected two professions and those who worked in them. Unfortunately, that is not the case today. People who work in those two professions are not treated in high esteem at all. In fact, some of them are disrespected on a lot of levels by some people.
I am speaking firsthand about this because I am part of both of those professions. People who worked in those professions were my role models. That's why I chose one of those professions and the other profession chose me.
During the time I was growing up, teachers were admired not only by their students, but also by parents and other people in the community. Teachers were invited to dinner where the best meals were served and everyone was on their best behavior. Teachers were treated with the utmost respect. There was no foul language used around them.
These days, some kids in school talk back to their teachers, make fun of them, threaten them, prank them, and curse them out. None of that ever happened when I was in school. The teachers in my school were treated with respect. They were my role models. I thought if I became a teacher, I would be respected also.
Because of my teachers, I became a teacher and have been working in that profession for over 60 years without the respect I thought I would have.
When I was growing up, preachers were treated with respect. They did not always live in the same community where the church was located and where the parishioners lived. When a preacher came into town to preach, families would take care of their lodging, food, and whatever else they needed. People were delighted to take care of the preacher.
Families waited anxiously for their turn to have the preacher live under the same roof and break bread with them. Of course, the preacher received the best of everything during his stay. That surely doesn't happen these days. Some preachers don't get the special treatment or recognition that they once got.
A Teacher and a Preacher
I have been a teacher for over 60 years because I admired my teachers in school. I thought once I became one, I too would automatically have that respect.
They were my authority figures, and I wanted to know what they knew so I could do what they did. Ultimately, I wanted the same respect they always had. Therefore, I chose to become an English teacher because I admired my high school English teacher and grew to love how the English language worked. I loved conjugating verbs and diagramming sentences. That is not done in schools anymore. Sometimes, I still do it just for fun.
The other profession is one I did not choose. It chose me. Because of my love for reading, I began reading and studying the Bible while I was in elementary school. As I grew older, the intensity deepened. It was unheard of for a woman to become a preacher at that time. After I graduated from college and was teaching English in all the local community colleges, I had a strong urge to go to seminary. When I told my pastor, he asked, "Aren't I not teaching you enough? Why do you want to go to that "cemetery." They can't teach you any more than you are getting from this church." He and his wife talked me out of going to seminary for three years. I pleaded with them until they finally said, "You go ahead then." The day I enrolled in seminary, the pastor died on the golf course. Therefore, he never saw what I became in my profession as a preacher.
During my seminary days, a family member wrote me a three-page letter from the pages of a legal pad. She asked why was I going to seminary when I could have a full-time job instead. Another family member told me I would never be a good preacher because of my low voice. Because of that remark, when I began to preach, I was hoping I would be hoarse so my voice would be rough.
People tried their best to keep me from going to seminary and becoming a preacher. After preaching for almost 30 years, it is evident that God's "Yes" on my life is much louder, stronger, and more powerful than people's "No."
I will always be a teacher whether I am in the classroom or not. I will always be a preacher whether I am standing behind a pulpit or not.
Unfortunately, I don't see the respect today that I saw teachers and preachers getting when I was growing up.