“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12 (ESV)
One of the many paradoxes in ministry is this: the greatest among us often serve in the dark.
Beti Gonzalez (ThM, 2003) is no stranger to the visible ministry. She has an extensive background in missions, bringing the Gospel message around the world. In her parent’s homeland, Cuba, she taught at a seminary. Yet when she felt the Lord’s leading her to teach in the early 2010s, her ministry landed in an unusual spot—the public school system in the San Antonio and Houston suburbs.
For the past seven years, Beti has taught English and Spanish to immigrant children, most of whom have roots in Latin America. Beti serves students at a critical point in their lives. She works behind the scenes to help students aim toward an earthly future that will flourish into a relationship with the Lord.
Because she works in the public school system, much of her ministry is done behind closed doors and on her knees; prayer is her greatest tool. Occasionally, Beti has had the opportunity to publicly blessed students in prayer, and she trusts the Lord hears even if her students do not. She sees a parallel between her ministry and the ministry of those in Jesus’s youth. Readers see very little of Jesus’s adolescent formation in the Gospels. Yet, even in that dark, seemingly obscure segment of our Lord’s life, the Messiah grew with community.
While most of her ministry is unseen, Beti is vital to the children she serves. Largely untethered from mentors and trusted adults, many students are wrought with uncertainty: should I have my baby if I’m pregnant or should I abort her? Should I stay in school if my parents need me to work so we can pay rent? My grandfather hits my grandmother; my mom has been divorced twice because both men hit her, but she needs to live with a man to make ends meet. What can I hope for when it comes to family? A spouse? A home?
She doesn’t know if she will remain a teacher for another fifteen years until retirement. However, she is confident that her current ministry is humble service to the Lord.
Her advice to those in ministry?
Answer the Lord’s call. Yes, it may change over time. But faithfully go. Whether it is rural Iraq, a children’s ministry, the pastorate, or the public school system—go. Because if the Lord has called, the amount of light doesn’t matter. Because even in the darkness or obscurity of your calling, God is El Roi. He is the God who sees.