Did you know that today is International Women’s Day?
I didn’t either until I heard it mentioned on the news last night. In fact, I didn’t know what it was. So, of course, I googled it. Their web page reveals the following.
Celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. Yet let’s also be aware progress has slowed in many places across the world, so urgent action is needed to accelerate gender parity. Their 2016 campaign theme is #PledgeForParity
Their web page asked, “How will you mark the day?”
I will mark the day by celebrating the women of God. Godly women. Holy women. Spiritually minded women. Women whose impact in our lives is not measured by a paycheck, a career, or a position of social or economic prominence.
(1) I celebrate godly women who are faithful wives.
It is often joked that when God created Adam. He looked at him and said, “I can do better than that.” Then he made a woman.
The Bible actually says that after creating Adam, “And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Eve was a compatible companion. A helper. She was made to complete and complement her husband. Woman is not inferior to man. Or a lesser being. She was the “crowning act of God’s creation.”
In an age where some women boast, “I don’t need a man,” I celebrate Christian women who are the wives of elders, deacons and preachers and partner with their husbands work. I have often said, “My wife is my most valuable asset in my ministry.” She makes me look better than I really am.
A man cannot quality as a Shepherd in the Lord’s church without a faithful wife. The wise man was right, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov 18:22).
(2) I celebrate godly women who are loving mothers. Sadly, it seems our culture has demeaned the role of a wife and mother. The Bible honors women who trained and shaped the lives of their children to serve God. Jochebed, the mother of Moses, literally saved his life and raised Him to know and honor God. We are touched by the tender story of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, who reverently prayed for a baby boy, and then willingly dedicated him to God’s service the care of the priest Eli.
Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Lois and Eunice, are honored in the Bible for their role in teaching him the Scriptures and shaping his heart for God. And think of when God chose to send his son to earth, he sent him to “be born of a woman.” It was Mary who was entrusted to care, nurture and raise Jesus as a young boy.
It was my mother who encouraged me to preach. She was my first speech coach. She taught me respect. Instilled in my heart a love for God. Set an example of righteous living. Corrected me when I was wrong. Praised me for my accomplishments. Administered discipline when needed. And gave me unconditional love. Thank God for devoted mothers.
(3) I celebrate godly women who are involved in ministry.
Unfortunately, the conversation too often turns to prohibitions of what a woman cannot do in the public assembly. (1 Cor 14:34). That is a very narrow view of Christian service. 99% of Christian living occurs outside of the assembly.
The Bible speaks honorably of women in ministry like Phoebe, “the servant of the church in Cenchreae” (Rom. 16:11). Philip, the evangelist, had “four virgin daughters who prophesied.” We often read in the New Testament of the women who followed Jesus in his ministry like Mary Magadelene, Joanna, and Susanna.” Apparently they were women of means and financially supported Jesus (Lk. 8:2).
This should not surprise us since women have occupied a prominent role in God’s plan from the beginning. Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Deborah, the only female Judge of Israel. Esther, the beautiful queen, who saved the Jewish people from annihilation. And, of course, Mary and Martha of Bethany, friends of Jesus who ministered to him.
I celebrate Christian women who teach classes, share the gospel, visit the sick, help the needy, nurture the downtrodden, and faithfully minister in so many small ways that make a big difference.
To be clear, women certainly have the right to pursue work outside of the home. The worthy woman of Proverbs 31 sold merchandise and was involved in real estate. Women should not be discriminated in the market place. Many Christian women have honored God and let their light shine for the Lord in various business and professional pursuits. I celebrate them.
But, let us not diminish the role of Christian wives, mothers, homemakers and female servants in every congregation who faithfully attend to the Lord’s work and make the church stronger.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman