Mrs. Farnsworth spent a period of time in Bible work before she was recently married. After a year of married happiness her husband was inducted into the Army. The easier lot for her might have been to remain in a quiet country community among relatives, but she felt the call of the cities with their teeming unsaved. After she and her husband studied their future in the light of their responsibilities to the lost, both thought it best for her to return to her former profession, the Bible work.
Some professions in our denomination that attract our young women, such as teaching, nursing, and colporteur work, are soul saving mostly in the seed sowing time, but Bible work is very definitely the reaping time for all other soul winning. Therefore it is most soul satisfying, for one sees the actual results.
2. Because it offers the greatest opportunity for mental development. Self-improvement by means of Bible study will sharpen the brain as nothing else will.
"And when it [the Bible] is made the study book, with earnest supplication for the Spirit's guidance, and a full surrender of the heart to be sanctified through the truth, it will accomplish all that Christ has promised. The result of such Bible study will be well-balanced minds ; for the physical, mental, and moral powers will be harmoniously developed. There will be no paralysis in spiritual knowledge. The understanding will be quickened; the sensibilities will be aroused; the conscience will become sensitive; the sympathies and sentiments will be purified ; a better moral atmosphere will be created ; and a new power to resist temptation will be imparted."—"Fundamentals of Christian Education,"
3. Because it challenges the greatest skill a teacher can possess, that of teaching the same great truth to both the ignorant and the learned. From kindergarten to university, the teacher to a more or less degree has his pupils graded according to advancement, age, and ability. Without such a background of grading provided for her, the Bible instructor comes into the home to teach the most important truths to a pupil whose previous education she knows nothing about. And more difficult still, more often than not she must teach two or more pupils of varied ability and background at one time. It is the Bible instructor's task to use the great teaching art in such a way as to help each of her hearers, be he illiterate or genius. Only the teacher directed by the Holy Spirit can 'do this work.
4. Because it is a profession that allows for self-directed work. It appeals to those who are by nature independent, and who enjoy planning and executing their day's work.
5. Because it is one of the most exacting and challenging professions, from physical, mental, and spiritual angles.
Few professions offer as many possible hours of work a week. Even the Sabbath day, when all should enjoy a day of rest, turns out to be the Bible instructor's hardest day.* Meeting those of her readers who are at church for the first time, making introductions, teaching, praying, and counseling among the flock are strenuous duties.
No other work will keep the mind more alert. In the homes the Bible instructor is constantly under fire of questions from her readers. It takes more than ordinary skill to answer questions satisfactorily. The minister in the pulpit develops his theme without interruption, and the questions he himself raises are often forgotten before he reaches his "sixthly" and peroration. But the Bible instructor must not only answer difficult questions at the time they are raised, but she must do so in such a way as not to reveal her future subjects ahead of time, and yet not "put off" her reader too bluntly. She must not teach so intricately that the reader loses the trend of the original study. This requires real teaching technique, mental alertness, and much practice. Perhaps in no other line is more wisdom required or more skill exhibited than in the fine art of soul saving through personal Bible studies. One of the joys of Bible work is to know the great Book so well that no matter what a reader is thinking about, you can begin with him at that point to study the truths for today.
Nothing is more taxing on one's spiritual powers than this constant personal ministration to souls of men and women. When the woman touched Him in the throng, Christ said, "Who touched Me?" He felt that virtue had gone from Him. This is exactly as the true soul worker feels at the close of a study, especially when presenting God's great testing truths for today, and also when her reader opens the heart to problems in a personal battle with sin. Then the worker bows her knees with that soul before God and pleads in intercessory prayer. This taxes one's spiritual powers, but again, there is a great reward, for the more of God's power one uses, the more power God provides.
6. Because it places the worker in close touch with people. I love to work with people. The summer before my senior year at college I gave Bible studies to a family living near the school. Three of the family accepted this message and were baptized. Since I had tasted the joy of helping people decide for this truth, nothing could ever change my mind about becoming a Bible instructor. I then felt the thrill of coming in close touch with people. Speaking of how to win friends and influence people, I have found that nothing binds people more closely than helping one another in matters of the soul. Nothing brings you closer to the heart of a reader. Not even blood ties are stronger than those that bind you to those for whom you have "travailed in pain" for their rebirth. Forever you are to them a spiritual parent, and they love you with a love that only a reborn child can give. Nothing gives more joy to a worker than their growth into the full stature of manhood or womanhood in Christ Jesus.
*The Bible instructor is entitled to her day of rest, and if she finds that the seventh day of the week is actually the most taxing, she should plan her work so as to find relaxation and refreshment from physical labor on some other day than the Sabbath. Those who do their best work are coming to realize the wisdom of this plan, and are making a better contribution to the work when they follow this procedure.—L. C. K.