A Purpose Outside of the Kitchen
After talking with students on campus over the past few weeks, both male and female, I have found that there is an issue not only present on campus but all across our society today. It is an issue, I feel, that as a society, we have been struggling with, and only slowly improving on throughout the years. This ongoing issue brings up the question: are males and females equal?
If so, why does it still feel as though women are still striving for equality in 2017? Do women have a “place” in society, and who sets those boundaries? How can Christian men and women living in today’s world look to the Bible for answers in how they should appropriately respond to the issue at hand, reversing the disappointing views of women that society has portrayed for centuries?
After having been faced with these questions for quite some time now, years even, there are two women in the Old Testament that have always encouraged me. Both these stories remind me to take courage in the fact that I am a woman designed for purpose: a purpose that may call us outside of the kitchen.
The first woman is Esther. Now Esther was an orphan taking in by her Jewish cousin Mordecai and his wife. Her story takes place during the time of King Xerxes, a ruler of all of Persia. The book of Esther starts off when the King is in need of a new wife since his last one denied her husband’s request, and was thrown out of the royal household. Esther graciously wins favor with the King and becomes the new
Queen of Persia. Not only that, but she then goes on to save the entire Jewish population from being executed. To do this, she not only had to boldly go against the law and approach the King without him first requesting her, but she also had to make her petition again in front of the entire banquet attendees. During both these events, Esther was given authority to come up with a way to defeat those who were against her
and her people. God used an orphaned Jewish girl, who was considered an outcast in her society and placed in her in power over Persia. God granted her so much favor with her husband that he used the words: “Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you ” (5:3).
Esther is a story of bravery, courage, and defying the odds. She was willing to risk her life in order to be obedient to God and stay faithful to Him. Yet, she was also willing to honor her husband in humility, yielding to him with admirable respect. She had so much confidence in God to provide her every need, and He did just that and more!
The second woman in the Bible that also exhibits great leadership abilities is Deborah. The Bible says that Deborah was, in fact, a homemaker. But even while being a stay-at-home wife and mother at home, she still used her God-given leadership skills to counsel those outside of the home and help her neighbors with problems/issues going on in their life at the time. Many times when you hear about Deborah, it is understood that she was a judge over all of Israel. However, it is not mentioned that this position as judge was used to build up her leadership skills, training and equipping her even more so that she would be ready for when God called her into what He had destined for her to do from the very beginning.
In chapter 4 of the book of Judges, we find a woman who is in power over a man, ordering him to recruit ten thousand men from his tribe to defend the national borders. In Judges 4:8, this man, Barak, asks Deborah to accompany him in war. This was a BIG deal. During this time period, if any man were to die under the authority of a woman it was considered a disgrace. However, God used this mighty woman of God to
defeat the Canaanites and to destroy them. The Israelites had their victory, thanks to their now respected woman military leader.
From both of these stories, as believers of Christ, we can identify and come to know that if God can use a woman to make decisions over a nation, and then use another woman to lead an entire army into victory (during a time of when that was most certainly not the norm ), then He can most definitely use us in this day in age. We are being equipped as we speak, to do the work that He has called US to do… even if we
have no idea what that is yet. It is our job to make sure we are staying diligent in the work laid out in front of us so that when the time comes to rise up, we will be ready just as Esther and Deborah were. Both Christian men and women have a place in this world, and it’s found in the plans of our Father. It is not a man’s job to tell a woman where or where not she can work, and vice versa. That is instead up to the
Creator of Heaven and earth.
So . . .
Women: keep equipping yourselves in the Word, building up your leadership skills, and getting yourselves
ready for the battlefield. Don’t lose hope. God has called you for such a time as this.
Men: do the same. But it is also your job, as Christian young men, to be encouragers of the women. To let
them have a say, to move out of the way when you feel as though it is not your time to shine. God has called you for such a time as this.
We are equal. We are all leaders. Equal in the fact that God designed us for a purpose. Not equal in the
fact that we have different leadership roles to play.