June 10, 2009
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor
“Does anyone dares despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!”
Zechariah 4:10, The Message
David almost missed his calling.
My husband didn’t pull a Jonah and run in the opposite direction that God was leading. He simply had no exposure to the great needs in special education, and was passing that field by with no particular concern. In college, he had gravitated towards a teaching certification in social studies, and naturally assumed that was where God would use him. But that was before.
After graduation, his wonderful rapport with friendly human resource contacts had yet to turn into job offers, or even first interviews. We weren’t worried though – it was only May, and hiring often didn’t happen until June. Or July. Or August. Or maybe even the first week of school… finally, we had to admit that there would be no full-time history position available that school year. It was full-time substituting or nothing.
Well, almost nothing. A middle school almost forty minutes away needed an assistant soccer coach, and offered to set him up regularly as a substitute if he accepted the job. With few options, he took the coaching position and its meager stipend. Meanwhile, gas prices were so high that he actually lost money every day that he couldn’t also substitute, because he still had to make the trek for afternoon soccer practice.
That lasted most of the fall semester, before teachers for whom he had substituted told him about full-time position at the school. Except it wasn’t a social studies position. It wasn’t even a teaching position. It was an instructional aide position in a classroom for kids with mental disabilities.
It wasn’t what he planned to do. It wasn’t what he had trained to do. But at the moment, it fit the bill and provided some stability and consistency. We asked God to shut the door if this wasn’t the right opportunity, but he didn’t. So he walked through the door.
A few months – and more than a few touching experiences – down the road, David decided to get his masters in special education. He found openings waiting for him in the field. Mentors and administrators kept noting his easy manner in the classroom where so many adults felt awkward or dismissive. David realized he’d fallen in love with the kids. And he knew this was where he was called. The rest, well, it’s life as we know it now.
Some might say we adopted a laissez faire approach to his job situation. We weren’t incredibly picky about what the door led to – if it was open, we just walked through it. A divine hand essentially shoved us in a particular direction, and we simply followed that direction until we ran into a wall. And at the wall, there was always another door opening to a new direction.
That’s not to say I didn’t drag my heels a little bit. In the beginning, only the fact that school had started let me accept that David would be substituting. He was “too good” for something so dismissive of his talents, I knew. The same went for the instructional aide position. He had a real teaching certificate, and I wanted to see him land a real job that he deserved. But David exhibited more wisdom throughout the process; throughout the upheaval, he kept reminding me to “curse not the day of small beginnings.” And indeed, the day he took that assistant coaching position set us on a road we never would have discovered otherwise.
One of the great principles of Christian living is this: “Whatever you do, work at it with your whole heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” Even the day of small beginnings translate into big opportunities to serve a great God. And from one small beginning, this great God can change the rest of your life.
Intersecting Faith & Life: What menial tasks have landed in front of you? Our God can use even the barest circumstances to point us to great acts of love and service that reflect glory back on him.