|Posted on August 21, 2021 at 11:30 AM|
There has long been a lot of controversy about women in ministry and their ‘appropriate’ place. Of all the important topics we could debate, I’m not sure why this one gets so much attention. Is it really an issue of order and biblical integrity, or one of territory? One thing I know for certain is that if we try to keep someone from working within their God-given talents and calling, there is going to be a problem.
Make no mistake, I believe in order in both the home and the church. And while there are several passages of scripture written by Paul that seem to say women should have no place or voice in ministry, we need to keep digging. To really understand the full picture of what scripture is saying, we must understand the background and meaning behind every passage. There is compelling evidence that God not only intended for women to have a place among the leaders, but He specifically equipped them for that role.
In Judges 4 and 5 we find the saga of Deborah. She was not only a judge, so someone with a powerful voice in ministry and politics, but a warrior called into battle. And not just because she was the only one willing, but because God had a specific task that she was uniquely qualified for.
Before that we’re told of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron. God placed her in a position of authority with her brothers. We know this because in Micah 6:4 she is named as a leader of the nation right alongside them.
Ester was called to risk her life to save the Jewish people. She didn’t just act as a sacrificial lamb, but with Godly direction she led her people into a time of fasting and prayer, then demonstrated her faith in the Almighty by stepping forward with courage and intelligence.
Even during Paul’s ministry, we read of Phoebe who is named as a deacon of the church. In Romans 16:1 we’re told of Paul’s introduction of her to the church – calling on them to give her a ‘warm welcome and every support.’ She was given the pivotal role of taking Paul’s letter to the church in Rome where she not only read it to the believers there but was likely called on to explain its meaning - certainly not something that can be done by someone who doesn’t have a voice and the authority to use it.
No one is disqualified to be used by God. There’s never anyone so young, old, damaged, different, disease-ridden or sin filled that He won’t clean up and call on. If we are willing, God is able! In fact, He uses our very differences to reach a world that is populated by the different.
So, to think that there is any segment of our human population that God can’t work through simply says we don’t understand the enormity of His strength and grace. He will use anyone, no matter who or how broken, to rescue all His children. He has one goal – to save every sheep in His flock.
In the 2nd chapter of Joel, the prophet tells of the Holy Spirit dream given to him, citing what God spoke, “…I will pour out my Spirit upon all of you! Your sons and daughters will prophesy; your old men will dream dreams, and your young men see visions. And I will pour out my Spirit even on your slaves, men and women alike…” And on the day of Pentecost documented in Acts, Peter tells us that vision was fulfilled.
Not just on men, not just on the rich, not just on the pious, not just on the Jews, but on everyone who would accept the gifts of the Spirit. Because God is not a Father of distinction. We are all His adopted children, and He doesn’t qualify us by our abilities He equips us for His call.
We need to remember that we aren’t in charge of the ‘order’ of things, God is. We all have the right, responsibility, and privilege to declare His word and His works, and to testify of His promise of grace and salvation. Let’s not get so caught up in religion that we forget that we must allow God to set the stage for His work, and to use whatever and whoever He feels is best suited – not unilaterally eliminate someone based on human perceptions and prejudices.
The harvest is great and the workers are few. We can’t afford to disqualify anyone from the arduous work we have ahead of us. And if you’re wondering if you’ve outlived or out sinned your usefulness, I can assure you that God has a plan and a purpose for us until the very last breath we draw. Until we’re celebrating in heaven, we are all called to soldier together.
Be blessed, my Friend. God is on the throne.