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Women Who Win

Women and Missions

It may be hard for some to perceive that women have a specific part to play in missions. I am not exaggerating if I say that if we fail to mobilise the women power, 50% of the resources for missions will remain untapped. From Genesis to Revelation the
Bible is spiced with the elegant appearance of women who played a vital role in missions.

“I brought you up out of Egypt, and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and MIRIAM” (Mic 6:4).

“Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, DEBORAH, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judg 5:7).

“JAEL, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he (Sisera, the enemy) died” (Judg 4:21).

“The WOMAN went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in
Jerusalem” (2 Sam 20:22).

Then ESTHER sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, eventhough it
is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esth 4:15,16).

“For he (John) will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or drink other fermented drink, and He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother ’s (ELIZABETH’S) womb.Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to
the Lord their God” (Lk 1:15,16).

“And the angel answered and said to her (MARY): The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk 1:35).

“It was MARY MAGDALENE, JOANNA, MARY the mother of James, and other WOMEN with them, who told this to the apostles” (Lk 24:10).

“The churches in the province of Asia greet you. Aquila and PRISCILLA greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house” (1 Cor 16:19).

“Help these WOMEN who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel” (Phil 4:3).

If we allow the Lord to erase this evangelical blindspot from our minds we will see the tremendous potential in women for missions.

If asked to choose the best book in the Bible for the study of missions, most of us will without a second thought place our thumb in the book of Nehemiah. The same book may well serve as a text for the Role of Women in Missions.

“Shallum, son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his DAUGHTERS” (Neh 3:12).

When we dig deeper into the book of Nehemiah, we unearth three important reasons why a trumpet call was given to women to join the mission of building of the walls of Jerusalem.

1. Urgency

2. Scarcity

3. Speciality (skill)

1. Urgency

Jerusalem faced a crisis. The mission must be complete as quickly as possible. The laughs and scorns of Sanballat and Tobiah could be heard from every corner (2:19). All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to hinder it
(4:8). A constant call was ringing in the plains for Nehemiah to come down from the work (6:2). The adversaries threatened to murder them and the Jews discouraged them ten times (4:11,12). There was no time to waste. The task must be completed soon,
before the onslaught of the enemy.

These DAUGHTERS were not daughters of some commoner but daughters of the leader of half the district of Jerusalem. When many nobles did not put their necks to the work of their Lord (3:5), this one not only put his neck to the work but pulled his
dainty daughters to work in the dirty mud and mortar!

2. Scarcity

Jerusalem lay waste and the city gates were consumed with fire. The walls were broken down.
“Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, the and houses had not yet been rebuilt” (7:4).

The maximum that Nehemiah could get for his mission was just a handful. He could not hold an interview to select the able ones or screen off the weaklings. He had no choice but to accept all the volunteers. He kept on challenging, “The work is great and
large.” Though his plea to the king was “that I may build it,” his “please” to the people was “Let US build.” He wanted all possible hands to join the work. He could not expect all the jews to join hands with him. Some doubted, some criticised, some
grumbled at the garbage in the site. What could Nehemiah do? He set the peeople after their “families” with their swords, their spears, and their bows! (4:13). Wives and daughters touched the polished swords with awe and encouraged by their husbands
and fathers they took courage to handle them—because of the dire need! If they refused, who could help?

3. Speciality

It was a work of building up of the walls of Jerusalem. The men could burn the bricks and build up the mammoth structure. What could these women do? Can they climb up the wall? Will they not scream and scramble like useless brats when the enemy comes in?

Will they not faint and falter at the enormous load on their shoulder? Indeed they would. But they were most needed! Because the woman’s work was waiting for personnel. Some were indispensable for carrying the brick and mortar to the mason. Judah
complained that the strength of the bearers was decayed, and there was much rubbish; so that they were not able to build the wall. Leave a woman there and she will instinctively start sweeping and cleaning up! Nehemiah could not do without them.

Hence the glorious task was complete with the gallant touch of women!

These are the days when we face exactly the same problems in missions.

Our blood seems to be circulating faster everyday as we realise the URGENCY of the task of evangelism. Yes, there is no time to waste. Too long the women folk of India have been living within the four walls of the home. It is true that women must be
taught to be at home and care for the husband and children. But in India conditions are different. Whether you teach or not, all that Indian women know of is to care for the home, husband and children. The time has come when they need to be told that not
only the home but the country needs them. When the enemy is entering the city gates, will any woman worry about the milk on the stove?

Because of the involvement of women in missions a cost has to be paid no doubt. But it is a worthy investment. People criticise women in ministry that their children are neglected. They will never dare critcise the other friend who is a school teacher or
steno. When women sacrifice their home and children and husband for the sake of the world, why not for the Lord?

The Philistines were smitten with death and emerods when the ark of the Lord was with them. Their priests advised them to take two cows, on which there has come no yoke, and tie them to the cart, and bring their calves home from them. They said if these
cows go by way of their own coast to Beth- Shemesh, that means it was the hand of the Lord. “So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. They placed the ark of the Lord on the cart and along with it
the chest containing the gold rats and models of the tumours. Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh. Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a
large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart, and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord” (1 Sam 6:10-14).

Why was this odd choice of animals made? If they had chosen two oxen used to hard labour they would easily carry the ark and go the 20 miles. But they wanted to see the definite hand of the Lord on the test. It proved that it was by the Lord because it
was against the laws of nature. Here is the picture of tender and delicate women, who carry on the mission of the Lord, separated from their children, sighing as they go, not minding the criticisms on the right or condemnation on the left, their vision set—not to accomplish any great thing but to appease the Lord by their martyrdom in the harvest field! More rejoicing is the fact that they in harvest field lifted up their eyes to see the women folk joining them. Their prayer to the Lord of the harvest
was answered in this unexpected way, because God has chosen the weak things of this world for the urgent need.

· The work is great and large but labourers are SCARCE. The handful of workers is like a drop in the ocean.Let the women arise and fill the gap. Indian women in general are full of inferiority complex. While the worldly women are coming out of it fast, the religious ones shrink further in the name of submission and silence. It is the responsibility of leaders to throw a parallel challenge to women and woo them to the mission. What is the ratio of women working for the world: women for the Lord? 10:1?
May be wider. Oh God, why are we sleeping? The world has stretched forth its hands to welcome the women with all their shortcomings to fulfil its needs. In these days of dire need, let not the captains of the Kingdom be slack to seek the Joan of Arcs!

There may be some Baraks who would say, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” And there may be some Deborahs to answer, “Very well, I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honour will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.” This is no time to fight whether Barak won or Deborah won; it was the children of God who were crowned. “Then sang Deborah and Barak” (Judg 5:1). Let us encourage the womanly Baraks but at the  same time let us not discourage the manly Deborahs! God needs both, because the harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few!

· Women are a must in missions, because afterall any mission field is 50% feminine. They have a SPECIFIC job. Only a woman can fulfil a woman’s work. What superman could have brought forth Jesus into this world? Even if Jesus washed twelve pairs of feet, none volunteered to wash His, because there was no woman in that company. Peter and James and John may sleep in the garden of Gethsemane. Eutychus may slumber and even fall down from the window. But praise God, there is no record of women sleeping during prayer or preaching! Were they given a chance they would have conducted an all night chain prayer in Gethsemane! Women hold the potential for prayer cells.

In many unreached areas heathen women hide themselves at the sight of men strangers. But they freely talk to women. What of girls’ hostels, colleges, homes and ladies’ compartments in trains for example, the highly fertile soil of our field where the board ‘Men not allowed’ is painted? Don’t deprive the world of women a witness by neglect. Talk to them, challenge them, arouse hem! They can move God and man with their tears. Do not waste their skill. Where there is no sword a woman can throw a millstone and crush the enemy’s skull (Jud 9:53). Great is the need for the mission of the great commission.

“The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of women that published it. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she who tarried at home divided the spoil. Though you have lain among the pots, yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (Psa 68:11-13 NASB/KJV)

Oh God, fulfil these Thy words—soon—please! 

   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com