By: Reverend Bruce Hermann
It was exciting to hear this issue of CityView was to highlight women in the workplace. That work place may be in the “secular world,” the “church world” or in the “Help me Jesus world” of the stay at home mom. Thank you ladies for being faithful women of God in displaying the fruit of the Spirit and being Christ in your homes and our community. Bless you!
I was asked to share a bit about women in the Bible, so out of curiosity, I asked some peers what woman or women in the Bible inspired them. Surprisingly, there were no votes for Delilah, Jezebel, Potiphar’s wife or the Witch of Endor (though any of these would make good drama for an upcoming Lifetime movie). Mary, mother of Jesus, received the most votes followed closely by Mary Magdalene. Martha was a favorite. Then were some names that wouldn’t necessary make the top seven answers on Family Feud: Abigail, Esther, Anna, Ruth, the woman at the well, Rachel, Miriam, Lydia and Puah.
As we flip through the pages of our Bibles and read the accounts of how God worked in the lives of women, we witness their character, faithfulness and courage. How can we not be inspired? They encourage us. They stood firm in the face of evil. When faced with difficult choices, they sought God’s way… not the easy way. They faced the same challenges, temptations and doubts that we do today. Their lives mirror ours in that we see our faith both soar and struggle. Like them, we’ve all dwelt in the valley and on the mountaintop. But most importantly it’s through their stories that we witness and learn of God’s judgment, forgiveness, His mercy, His power, His great love and oh praise Him, His faithfulness.
Ladies, you might have glanced up again trying to figure out why a MAN is writing about women in the Bible. Well, I have a great appreciation and admiration for women of great faith. My mom is respectfully called “Saint Tish” by my wife, Becky. Mom raised four boys and a husband (you ladies caught that didn’t you?). She’s a prayer warrior… praying from the time we were in the womb for our salvation and for our wives. While not perfect, her love and devotion for God magnified her love and devotion to Dad. That made home a place of love centered around God.
Mom strived to be that Proverbs 31 woman. As I’m reading that scripture now, I’m humbled and marvel at how God made women to be able to multitask and handle stress so much better than men. Verses 28 through 31 read: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
While the “Proverbs 31” woman has no specific name, we all know your faces and names. Bless you!
Pastors, where would the Lord’s church be without women like Phoebe in our congregations? She’s called a deacon in scripture as a result of her being a faithful servant of the church in Cenchreae. Paul wrote in Romans 16 that the church should receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints and to assist her in whatever she needed because she helped many, including him.
Okay, back to Saint Tish for a minute. Mom, like many women you know, would never seek to be voted on to be a “deacon” in her church. Don’t worry, I’m not going there… My point is, while she isn’t an Elizabethtown Baptist Church Deacon, she IS a deacon. She has a significant role in the church as a servant who helps her pastor meet the needs of the congregation. Be it teaching, visiting, praying, shuttling folks or encouraging… she is a servant. I can name several churches we attended in my younger years, where the deacons didn’t “deac” and were it not for the women, needs in the congregation would have gone unmet. Bless ye women who “deac”.
Eunice and Lois seem to be mentioned in the Bible as an afterthought, but why they are mentioned is remarkable. They are Timothy’s mom and grandma…who passed on their faith to him. Paul gave them credit for influencing Timothy’s faith. Moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers… our kids are watching us. They literally absorb what they hear and see in us. We learn from these two women that a real faith passed on to others changes lives generation after generation. Mom and ladies, bless you for passing on your faith!
There are a couple more women in the Bible whose stories speak volumes in modeling faith. They are not mentioned by name, but each of us experience a great sense of humility as we vividly envision their acts of faith. Can’t you see the woman with the bleeding disorder creep ever so slowly towards Jesus. If I can just get close enough to touch the hem of His garment… just a few more feet… closer… closer. Then, a result of her faith, the power of the Son of God shot through her and healed her in an instant. Healed! Her life changed in an instant! Ladies, thank you for demonstrating the faith that our God and Lord Jesus Christ has the power to change and heal our lives (physical, spiritual, emotional). Sometimes, that healing is instant and sometimes it is over a lifetime. Sometimes, our physical healing is realized with our final breath when we reach Home to be with the Lord. Ladies, thank you for being our encouragers to stand fast, to have faith and wait on the Lord. Bless you!
Could you imagine God’s Holy Inspired Word without the imprint of the stories of the lives of these woman saints? Could you imagine God’s ongoing work being done without today’s saintly women on the mission fields overseas, in America, in North Carolina, in Cumberland County, in Fayetteville, in our schools, in our work place, in our churches and in our homes?
Thank you ladies, for carrying the torch of faith and being a light in the darkness. Thank you for proclaiming God’s love and redemptive power in and through Christ from your homes into our community, workplace and the world. As Paul would say, “I thank God every time I remember you.” Ladies, you are remembered and cherished. Bless you!