One of the issues that churches wrestle with is the role of women in the church, especially in the area of leadership. Can a woman serve as the Pastor? Can women be Elders or Deacons?
What exactly is the role of women in the church?
It seems obvious that we will never reach a unanimous consensus. Those who believe that some leadership roles are restricted just to men have built their case from specific teachings in the Bible and are not likely to change. Those who believe that there are no restrictions on women serving in leadership roles have done the same.
Too often there is more heat than light in these types of discussions. That’s not helpful.
Regardless of which side you find yourself on in this issue, I want to remind all of us that there are significant roles that women can perform in the church.
One of the most significant roles is the role of the wise woman of Tekoa.
2 Samuel 14 records the story of a woman from the village of Tekoa who moved King David to action when even his advisers could not persuade the king to act. As a result she has become known as the wise woman of Tekoa.
There are other examples of women in the Bible that were used in very special ways by God. Women like Easter, Deborah, Anna, and Mary come to mind.
What is so intriguing is that these women lived in totally male-dominated cultures. Women were not only subservient to men but were often viewed as property to be owned and used by men. To advise kings, lead armies or speak words of prophecy were not only unusual but violated every standard of society. But thank God these women were there.
As a pastor I’ve been privileged to have some of these wise women in my churches. Women who were in the right place at the right time for God to use them. And I have benefited greatly from their wisdom. They are often older women. They don’t normally have much to say in public meetings but aren’t afraid to say what needs to be said in private. They don’t perceive themselves as wise, but they have accumulated a life-time of keen observations of people and events. They have walked with God, learned from the Word of God and talk with God as friends talk together. They have an intimate relationship with the Almighty.
There are a number of lessons that we can learn from these women, but one that stands out is that none of us know when or how God will use us if we, like these wise women, are spiritually ready to be used. One of the intriguing things about these women is that they don’t always know that they are speaking words of wisdom at the time they speak. It is simply that their collective time with God has given them a godly perspective on life so that when they speak they speak wisely.
That should be the goal – and it is an attainable goal – for each of us. To speak wisdom into every situation and event of life. That is only possible as we are immersed in the wisdom of God’s Word. Psalm 19:7 says the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure making wise the simple (spiritually unwise).
Wisdom for life can only come from the Word of God as we apply it to our everyday lives.
The challenge then is to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul who wrote, See then that you walk (live) circumspectly (accurately), not as foolish people but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Stay in the Word