Saturday, July 28, 2018

Jesus' Leadership #28 He Empowered Women to Become Leaders

I believe wholeheartedly that women can and should be in the leadership roles – both in the church and especially in the marketplace.  Although in church headship, I'm convinced by my reading of the Scripture that offices such as elder, bishop, pastor, and senior pastor are reserved only for men. All are permissible for women except bestowing spiritual authority over adult men (this is a highly debatable statement, so, I won't discuss this matter further). Men and women are equal with respect to dignity and worth and yet different with respect to role and responsibility. With that being said, women must be given equal opportunity to become leaders. In fact, many great leaders I know are women! But unfortunately, too many churches and organizations still fail to recognize, acknowledge or see the potentials and talents of women. Some still discourage and even forbid women – nonverbally and culturally – from taking leadership roles.

Jesus Christ, my Lord, apparently thought differently. Although He first called twelve men to become His close-disciples, His first appearance after His death was to a group of women (see Matthew 28:1, 9) with the instruction to go and convince Peter and others of His resurrection! Before the birth of the Saviour, God through His angel spoke to young Mary about a magnificent plan (Luke 1:30-33), which she was able to keep secret until the appropriate time. Wealthy women economically among the followers supported Jesus and His disciples while they were on their mission (Luke 8:3). Mary Magdalene, Martha, Joanna, Salome, and Susanna were among Jesus' female disciples that played significant roles during His earthly ministry. Paul, one of Jesus most faithful apostles, enlisted women to be among his colleagues in the ministry such as Prisca, Phoebe, Chloe, Euodia, Syntyche, etc. So, in the beginning, and at the end of the gospel story – even throughout the Old and the New Testament – God gave primary leadership roles to women.

Men, churches, and organizations who fail to acknowledge women as leaders often suffer for their ignorance. For examples, Pontius Pilate's wife tried to warn him not to be involved in the trial and execution of Jesus by saying, "Leave this innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night" (Matthew 27:19). Pilate ignored her and since then get himself into trouble for the rest of his life; Nabal was struck to death because he didn't act wisely like his wife Abigail (1 Samuel 25); Deborah became known as great military leader and deliverer of Israel because Balak don't want to take the lead (Judge 4:8-10).

 Jesus said to both women and men: "The Kingdom of God is already among you" or "is within you" (Luke 17:21). He delegated equal power and authority to anyone who asked. In the Kingdom of God, there is neither rich nor poor, free nor bond, male nor female, all are equally the sons and daughters of God. We are equal in dignity, worth and are called to lead. Jesus empowered women to become leaders. Are you?

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