Ladies Guild bible study
May 9, 2012 – The value of women
I have been thinking about Mother’s Day this week. I raised the issue at ‘Shed Happens’ Monday night. I was talking about the need for us blokes who have wives to make more effort in paying attention to our wives and even showing affection – maybe even holding hands in public now and then!
A day later, one of the men was in the office and he said, ‘I’m with you, pastor. Not really into holding hands in public. You tell them you love them on the wedding day and say I’ll let you know if anything changes!” He was joking. He knew that was not enough…
No, we men need to take every opportunity we can to affirm and honour not just our own wives and daughters but all women. So, the church honours you this week and the Lord honours you today. You women are a great gift of God!
That is easy to see in the bible…
There was, Miriam who led the people in praising God after the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex 15:21), Ruth who put God first and became the ancestress of King David (Ruth 1:16;4:17), Deborah, a judge in Israel (Judges 5), Hannah who ‘lent to the Lord’ the child of her prayers (1Sam 1:28), Esther who took her life in her hands to plead for her doomed people, the widow whose obedience sustained the prophet Elijah (1Kings 17:9-16), a little captive maid who told Naaman’s wife of the man of God who could cure Naaman of his leprosy (2Kings 5:2-4), the woman who anointed Jesus with the expensive ointment (Mk14:3), the poor widow’s gift of two mites which won Jesus’ praise (Mk 12:43), Mary who gave birth to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Luke 1:28), Martha who served and Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42), Mary Magdalene who brought spices to anoint Jesus, who first greeted the risen Lord and who received the first commission -’Go tell’ (Jn 20:17-18; Mk 16:9), Lydia one of the first converts in Macedonia (Acts 16:14), Dorcas – full of good works (Acts 9:36), Phebe & Priscilla – servants of the church (Ro 16:1-4), Lois and Eunice who had sincere faith (2Tim 1:5), Persis ‘the beloved’ and Tryphena and Tryphosa who laboured for the Lord (Romans 16:12).
Women who have been called into the holy vocation of Motherhood are to be honoured too. I read this nice little comment this week about the high value of mothers…. It was preached in a sermon by a Christian Minister named Jan Croucher (Preached at Heathmont Baptist, Church, Victoria, Australia, May 12 1996, http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/4880.htm )
Being a mother does not suggest lack of initiative and ability. It does mean getting priorities straight. It doesn’t mean freeing men from all responsibility with young children. It means sharing responsibility but recognising gifts. Emerson (the American essayist) said ‘People are what their mothers make them’ and Abraham Lincoln said ‘All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother’.
Most of the greats throughout history have had dedicated mothers and it is interesting to note that [Roman Caesar] Nero’s mother was a murderess, and that the rather dissolute Lord Byron had a mother who was proud and violent. But let’s be quick to acknowledge that Christianity has lifted women to equality with men. In many parts of the world women are still considered almost a beast of burden. It was Jesus Christ who elevated womanhood, and it was Paul the apostle who said that in Christ there is neither male nor female.
[I would also say that it was Paul and the early Christian church community who raised the value and place of women and the place of marriage up to new heights in the ancient world – see Tim Keller, The meaning of Marriage, published 2011)]
You may know of Lord Shaftesbury’s statement ‘Give me a generation of Christian mothers, and I will undertake to change the whole face of society in twelve months.’
It is true to say that the influence of a mother in her home upon the lives of her children cannot be measured……
….Let us remember that there are no perfect mothers, no perfect fathers, no perfect children but with God at the helm of our lives we can rest serene in the security and the peace of knowing that we belong securely to the Father, who both mothers and fathers those of us who allow him to.
A MOTHERS’ DAY CREED
I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary.
I believe in the love Mary gave her Son, that caused her to follow him in his ministry and stand by his cross as he died.
I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children they bear.
It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside.
It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity.
I believe that this love, even at its best, is only the shadow love of God, a dark reflection of all that we expect of him in this life and the next.
And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights in the world
is a mother who lets this greater love flow through her to her child,
blessing the world with the tenderness of her touch
and the tears of her joy.
Thank God for all women.
Thanks God for mothers,
and thank mothers for helping us understand God!