By Dena Roberts
Are you thinking, “Here comes the standard article saying women can stay home and raise their children, teach children’s classes, etc.”? We live in a time when many are not satisfied with the role God has given to women, and are actively seeking to broaden that role into unauthorized areas. Perhaps we should re-examine the significance of what women can do. In this I believe we will find that women are neither unimportant nor required by God to do virtually nothing. Think for a moment what the church would be like without dedicated, Christian women.
Without women, there would be no elders. If that sounds strange to you, look at 1 Timothy 3:2. An elder is to be the husband of one wife, and that wife is to be dignified, not a gossip, temperate and faithful in all things (1 Tim. 3:11). An elder needs a wife who will help him in his work. Every woman should begin today to work on putting these characteristics into her own life. Then when her husband is qualified, she will not be holding him back from this very vital function.
Without women, much of the taking care of the sick and elderly simply would not get done. Most men are not great cooks. I know my husband can make hot dogs and that is about it. If sick and elderly people had to eat hot dogs when they needed help, the church would soon die off from such a poor diet! Seriously, women can do so much in this area take food to the sick, clean the house for the elderly, send cards to those who are ill, absent or lonely, baby sit, or call to cheer up someone who is discouraged. Every woman can do these things. If you think God has deprived you of any meaningful service in the kingdom, plan right now to help someone this week. We are commanded to do good to all men, especially those who are Christians (Gal. 6:10). Let’s do it!
Without women, what would happen to hospitality? Who would arrange and plan the get-togethers which help Christians come to know each other so much better? The few words exchanged in the foyer on Sunday can never build the deep brother-sister relationship Christianity requires, so hospitality is commanded (1 Pet. 4:9; Rom. 12:13). How can we truly help Christians in need if we do not know them? Decide that you will introduce yourself to anyone you don’t recognize at the next service. Continue to do this each time the church meets. You may be nervous about introducing yourself to others, afraid that you will mistake another member as a visitor. If that happens, you needed to get to know that brother or sister anyway. Don’t let that fear keep you from being friendly! You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get to know who are members and who are visitors if you will try. As you get to know more people take the next step and invite them into your home where you can further your friendship. Women must be willing and able to spend their lives doing whatever it takes to help their brothers and sisters in Christ. That means practicing hospitality that we might know others, and be able to help them.
Without older women, who will teach the younger women their responsibilities? Titus 2:3-5 tells younger women they need to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, and subject to their own husbands. Older women, do not retire when your children leave home. You still have God-given responsibilities, and teaching Titus 2’s responsibilities should keep you very busy! Too many older women quit teaching Bible classes saying, “I’ve done my time.” Yet, you are the ones who the children need the most. You have the wisdom that the young women do not possess. Children need someone who isn’t a mom reinforcing what they are being taught at home. You can be that someone if you will break out of retirement and get involved.
Now, how important are these kinds of works? Think about what you remember the most about different congregations you’ve attended. Was it the wonderful song leaders, inspiring prayers, and the reverent officiating at the Lord’s table? Besides the preaching, my fond (or not so fond) memories of congregations past are of how hospitable, loving and friendly the members were. When we must move away from a congregation, we remember the brothers and sisters who helped and encouraged us, who had us into their homes, and who we felt close to. Public assembly practices are soon forgotten. People who are involved in others’ lives will never be forgotten. In short, we remember the very things that women do. The work and activities of women shape the atmosphere, spirit and feel of a congregation! Who would dare say such is unimportant or useless?
A congregation can have the best public worship assembly around, but if the members are not friendly to visitors, do not extend hospitality to each other, or do not help those among them in need, then that congregation will not be viewed as a family of God’s people who show their love for Christ by showing their love for each other (John 13:34-35). Women operate in this vital area.
Women, we are not less important than men. God has given us different functions in the church and in the home, but this does not mean we are “second-class citizens.” If we devalue the work God has given to women we will inevitably want to usurp other roles not given to us. Thus, as Eve sinned by taking what God had not given to her, so we will follow in her footsteps. Instead, we must work on the obligations God desires for us to fulfill. This will not leave us bored or with nothing to do. Indeed, we will be very busy in the kingdom with some of the most important work to be done! I have plenty to do. How about you?
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: No 21, p. 2-3
November 4, 1993