Jessica wrote a great post last week here. I encourage you to read it before moving on below.
Is that poster familiar to you? She has been dubbed “Rosie the Riveter.” During World War II, defense industries needed workers, so they turned to the previously untapped workforce of women because most of the men were off at war. But after the war, the women were moved out of their jobs so the veterans could have jobs to come back to. While it’s become an inspiring story, the ending isn’t so nice.
But there’s more for the biblical woman. God isn’t tapping into a workforce previously unknown until the New Testament. God has always used women as an integral part of His plan. And if you are in Christ, He plans to use you as well.
This can’t be an exhaustive article, unfortunately. After all, this topic is worth many books. But here are a few examples of gifts, abilities and roles that the church needs women to grow into or continue to fulfill.
Faithful obedience even when it costs much.
That may sound elementary, but it’s essential. The church needs more women who know the word of God, study it and faithfully live in obedience. Sometimes, this comes at a cost. Esther risked death and Rahab risked the same. Ruth risked being the social outcast and, in fact, she was a social outcast for a time.
The risks can be small in some areas of the world, but in others, women risk everything to be faithful. A woman coming to faith out of Islam in most of the world will be thrown from her house and family into the streets.
An American woman rebelling against popular culture will most likely face some social issues as well. And a faithful woman taking a stand in the church against a clear wrong also could encounter strong opposition.
Whatever the case, the church needs women who love God, love His word and pursue after holiness no matter the cost. We need mothers and daughters and sisters who live faithfully as the church next to faithful fathers and sons and brothers.
If you read Jessica’s post, you might realize that many of the Biblical examples she mentioned were all women who took a stand in faith against the popular culture at that time, both pagan and within the people of God. And then when the church came onto the scene, the women supported the church and church leaders in much needed ways from financial support (Mary) to housing the gathering of the church (Lydia in Acts).
Find your worth in Christ.
Husbands are great, but Christ is better. Missions and friendships and jobs are great, but Jesus is better. So many good things and situations can quickly become where we find our worth. But what happens if you aren’t married on your timeline or don’t get the placement and funding for the missions opportunity you wanted or after college your friendships naturally float apart or you can’t find a job in your desired field?
It can wreck you, and understandably so. But it won’t destroy your feeling of worth because that is firmly rooted in Christ. It’s far better and more fulfilling to know Christ gives you and I our value and that which He does no one can undo.
You may be to this point and wondering why I haven’t mentioned specific roles. You may be asking yourself why these two things are where I started. Simple: these are the two areas that Christians need before ever growing or settling into a specific role or talent.
Faithful obedience and a worth placed firmly in Christ will help you discover where and how God has gifted you to serve. You won’t be perfect in these areas before serving, but seeking these things alongside service will bring much fruit in your life and to those around you. You’ll be a beacon of light pointing to the safe harbor of Jesus when the storms are raging in life.
Serve where you are gifted and listen to those around you.
Yes, two in one. Solid Christians around us can be so helpful in helping us identify where God has gifted us. You need others. And God expects that your main place of service is going to be in and through the local church. There are no lone wolf Christians. We are sheep in a herd, relying on one another. You are a member of one body, maybe a hand, but you need the ears and eyes.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you” (1 Cor. 12:14–21).
So where can a woman be gifted and serve in the life of the church?
So many ways … so let’s focus on where we see the Bible specifically mentioning roles and abilities:
- Business and entrepreneurship — Proverbs 31
- Homemaking and mothering — too many places to narrow down, but Genesis shows the first mom and homemaker in Eve
- Prophetess — Deborah in Judges and this role for women is included in Jeremiah’s prophecies as well
- Deaconess — not all churches agree on this point within the SBC, but there are those within the SBC that would allow this if the church leadership is set up as elders and deacons with clear delineation between the two
- Financier of the church — Lydia in Acts
- Voice of reason when injustice and sinful decisions are being made — Esther is one big example as well as Moses’ wife in Exodus 4
- Theological stud — no one said that theology is only for men
This is just the start. But the points that our culture tends to focus on are the limitations to preaching, the pastorate and family headship. I will assert that these are roles specifically assigned to men, but not because men are better. It’s because that is how God designed it from the beginning. And on that point, the women who support men in those roles are among some of the greatest helpers to those men. As a pastor, I could not do what I do without my wife. Alicia has strengthened my ministry in ways that I can’t begin to explain. But that’s a topic for another time.
So find your strength, seek others to confirm it and live faithfully before God and your brothers and sisters in Christ.