Some Reflections on The Ministry of Women
Some simple thoughts from a fairly uncomplicated—
and hopefully unprejudiced—man-mind . . .
Of my family of six, my Mother and my sister Ruth, were the closest ones to my heart. My Dad, my brothers and I, showed little or no warmth or affection toward one another; nor much to others. ‘Stiff upper lip,’ and ‘keep your feelings to yourself,’ are a couple of the less-desirable traits sometimes on display in the old British stock, from which we emerged.
(I hasten to state that there are many appealing human attributes that come from Great Britain. It’s just that the men in our family missed out on being able to express our feelings.)
Donna and her family taught me—ministered to me really—that there’s a place for emotions to be expressed, not suppressed. I’m still working on this area in my life.
Women have a unique ministry that no man can fulfill, the ministry of femininity, motherhood [Gen 2:28]; and much, much more. Yes, if married she was created to be a ‘helper,’ a ‘companion’ for her man. Being a helper is not about servitude, which is a form of slavery, and which some men totally misunderstand by dominating their wives. ‘Companion’ to me sounds more like being an equal, being alongside.
Men, likewise, have a unique ministry: that of masculinity and fatherhood, protector and provider. But too often, that maleness is expressed as ‘macho-ness’; and far too frequently, fathers don’t understand their role as ‘Dad’ to their children; or even worse, they simply avoid any responsibility in raising their kids. It’s easy to become a father, but it takes emotional devotion to learn how to be a Dad. A husband is equally called to serve his wife (after all, who was Eve’s midwife?)
Paul wrote that, “There is no male or female.” He’s simply stating that, ”we are one body, all clothed in Christ.” [Gal 27:27-28]
Jesus was the Servant-King, and put his stamp of approval on the ministry of women, even allowing them to serve and minister to him and his disciples in practical ways, and by their devotion. [Luke 8:1-3] And he himself served his disciples to the end—even barbecuing fish for them. [John 21:9 & surrounding verses]
Did his disciples serve? With some of them grasping for position and another plotting betrayal, it’s amazing that they really didn’t cotton on to the ministry of serving until after Jesus was gone.
Nowadays, women in the so-called ‘First’ world, do most things a man does. Generally, women are nurturing and tender, while strength and physicality favor men. Beyond childbearing and motherhood, were women created to do everything a man can do?
What about single women? Paul was a bit, shall we say, abrupt when addressing their needs—he gave almost dismissive and harsh advice to unmarried women—and widows. Basically he writes that, “it is good for them they should remain as I.” [I Cor 7:8] James was more sensitive towards widows and orphans [James 1:27], but did not mention unmarried women. It’s true that some men and women are called by God into singleness.
How about widows and widowers who have been, and still are on the mission field?
Question: Have you considered supporting in any way, widows and/or orphans? Donna and I stand with a few YWAM widows, on a regular basis.
In today’s world, women do as well—or even better—than men in many other ‘ministries’ in life (assuming that ‘ministry ’means anything a person does in life,‘ not just serving in some ‘more spiritual’ arena).
But I confess I have one great reservation—women in combat. Having served in the Air Force as a jet pilot during the Cold War, I was sublimely ignorant and oblivious to even the thought that I might have to kill another man. I just wanted to fly airplanes! (Women weren’t even airline pilots back then. After flying a lot of passenger miles since those days, I am now quite at ease when I hear a female voice coming from the cockpit—even when both Captain and Copilot are women.)
But back to my reservation of women in combat . . . there is a tendency in the raw horror and brutality of war and battle, for men to lose all sense of morality and control over their passions, by letting their natural, God-given aggressiveness run amok; and that is usually at the expense of civilian women and children. Rape and pillage are not uncommon in any war. But imagine what might happen to your warrior-wife or daughter or sister, should they be captured in combat. I shudder.
I also shudder to think of what my years would have been like without the nurturing love and influence of women throughout my lifetime.
NOTE: read the first of a series of, “Some of My Women Heroes.” (See ‘. . . and Finally below). These single women were—and still are—phenomenal and fearless, accomplishing great and incredible pioneering exploits in frontier missions.
Vive La Femme! Vive la différence!
Servanthood . . . and More
To minister is to serve, though many grasp for ministry in order to be served.
Leadership is all about serving and humility, and should never be about ‘lording’ it over others
You never need to justify your ministry . . . your ministry justifies you.
Waiting for an answer to prayer is often part of the answer.
Yes, but . . . watch this video
The Prayers of the Righteous
In this last season the Lord has been reminding me that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective, even when just two or three gather. [James 5:16-17] It’s not about numbers but about people who have hearts after him and are listening to him. When two or three are in right relationship with God and each other, their prayers are heard. [Matt 18:19]
Jesus prayed according to his Father’s will. Not his will, but his Father’s will, even though it meant laying down his life. We must be a people who watch and pray with pure hearts and the fear of the Lord, consecrating ourselves in order to hear his voice and know his will. [2 Cor 6:17 to 7:1]
It may be difficult for us when we are going through times of testing, but we must walk in the fear of the Lord and trust him, not desiring position or possessions, but only his presence. In his presence there is rest. [Ex 33:14] And we must make sure he always gets the glory. We are living in amazing days so those who have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying and pray according to his will.
Once, when I was baptizing someone in Chico, California, I asked God, “Why did Jesus have to be baptized when he was without sin?” I sensed our Father saying, “It was an outward sign of his heart commitment that he was willing to die and be resurrected again.” In his flesh Jesus did not want to suffer and die, but He yielded to the will of the Father, praying three times in the garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but yours be done.” [Matt 26:37-44]
He also asked the disciples to watch and pray so they wouldn’t fall into temptation. Their spirits were willing but their bodies were weak and they kept falling asleep.
Jesus is asking the same of us today, to watch and pray with him, remembering that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Whatever we ask according to his will, he will do.
With love and blessings,
Some of my Women Heroes (Part One)
Gladys Aylward, Lottie Moon, Corrie ten Boom, Amy Carmichael, Jackie Pullinger . . . the list of single missionary women heroes is a long one. We actually had Tante Corrie as one of our DTS teachers . . . what a woman! It has been Donna’s and my great honor to meet some women from a new generation of single pioneer missionaries.
Barb Levine, a vivacious young woman, was once our DTS outreach guide into China, back in the mid-80s. Things were ‘dicey-er’ then in that highly security-conscious nation. We were to meet and encourage a fugitive pastor in a large city. Barb, Donna and I had an address to which we went, but upon arriving, found it be the wrong place.
We contacted our Hong Kong headquarters and were given the correct address, but they did not know when Pastor ‘Simon’ would be there. For us to set a time to meet him, we were given another address where he picked up his mail.
So, at dusk one evening, with Barb leading the way, Donna and I headed off by taxi to this new location. With great difficulty we finally discovered that the address was somewhere the middle of a huge block of houses and apartment buildings, with no street lights and only a darkening pedestrian lane for access. Asking the taxi driver to wait for us, we set off with just the address on a small piece of paper to guide us.
Totally lost, a man rode up on his bicycle and asked Barb what we were looking for. Showing him the address, he motioned for us to follow him along some murky lanes, and hesitantly we did so, arriving at a six-storey apartment building, now sheathed in darkness. Beckoning us on, our new guide lead us up an almost lightless stairway, weaving through an obstacle course of all manner of boxes and bicycles stored on each side.
Arriving on the sixth floor, out of breath and shaking a bit with fear, we spotted a crack of light under the door we were searching for. We rapped gently, and hesitantly the door opened a few inches and we could see a woman’s face. She thought we might be the police. We turned to thank our guide—and he had disappeared! An angel? You’ll never convince us it wasn’t.
Upon explaining why we were there, the lady opened the door and there was her husband, gesturing for us to follow him to the next room. To our amazement, Pastor ‘Simon’ rose to greet us! He came there once a week, for just ten minutes, to pick up his mail. Coincidence? Or God-appointment?
The next day we went to the corrected address originally given us, with a bag full of bibles, and had a delicious lunch (that included fried eels!), with Pastor ‘Simon’ and his hosts. I wish you could have heard the accounts of his 18 years of imprisonment, as well as his sentence to be a street-sweeper after his release. Spine-tingling stuff.
The indomitable Barb Levine led many outreaches into China, before ending her time overseas, and marrying Jim Nizza. Together they pioneered a base in Arkansas, where sadly Jim passed away seven years ago from a long battle with cancer. Barb still leads that base, now inspiring young potential missionaries on to even greater exploits. She has two children.
More of my women heroes coming in the New Year!
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