Christianity has always been a religion and a way of life that attracts women. In every church I’ve ever been a part of, the women outnumber the men. Indeed, studies show that women have outnumbered men in Christianity as a whole for pretty much as long as studies have been done. As a minister, I often get frustrated at the number of men who do not pursue the Lord with all their heart. I rarely get frustrated with the women of our churches in this way. Furthermore, from the time of Christ, Christianity has honored and respected women in a revolutionary way compared to the treatment of women by secular culture. This was effectively demonstrated by Rebecca McLaughlin in her recent book Jesus Through the Eyes of Women.
However, many modern women bristle at Christianity, and it’s not hard to understand why. The Lord gives women a role of submission and support in both marriage as well as church leadership. The biblical teaching is that women are prohibited from being elders or deacons in the church as well as preachers. In a post-feminist culture like ours, some take this to mean God values men above women. Others simply reject Christianity from the outset because of these teachings.
It is not my intention in this article to make a full case for the dignity and equality of women according to the Bible. That has been done effectively in a number of books. My aim here is much more simple — I want to highlight one way that women show us Jesus in a far greater measure than men.
The Witness of a Life Lived for Others
Yesterday I preached the funeral of a 72-year-old woman named Beverly. I did not know her, but I know her family. From what everyone tells me, she was the matriarch of this large family, their spiritual backbone, and was loved deeply and dearly by every member. This was obvious as I watched the tears stream down each one of their faces, kids as well as adults. She knew the Lord and so her funeral was a sweet time even as it was difficult. It was an absolute honor to be present, even more so to be welcomed into their grief and to say a few words of comfort from Scripture in honor of a life so well lived.
During the service, it dawned on me that there is one particular way that godly women display the person and work of Christ far more effectively than men. It is becuase godly women live their life for others.
For those of us who are men and who are seeking to follow Christ, we honestly try to live for others, but it does not come as naturally to us as it does for women. We are so task-oriented, and we often pursue our work, careers, and accomplishments in a way that women do not. Godly women, on the other hand, pour their entire lives out for others. A godly wife loves, supports, and serves her husband. A godly mother gives of herself — her time, energy, worry, even her physical body — for her children. A godly grandmother or great-grandmother spends countless hours coming up with ways to bring happiness to her grandchildren.
A godly woman is characterized by the giving of herself for others. Every godly woman I have ever known has been distinguished by this one characteristic above all others. At the funerals of such women, this is what we remember about them and praise them for.
Godly Women Show Us Christ
And it is in this way that godly women show Christ to the world in a way that men typically do not — or at least in greater measure. Jesus Christ was first and foremost someone who gave himself for others, both in life and in death. That wonderful passage in Philippians 2 reminds us that Christ considered others more important than himself, emptied himself, became a servant, and submitted to death. He taught us and showed us that the greatest in the kingdom of God is the one who serves. He let the needs of others, and his interactions with others, set his agenda for each day. He was profoundly selfless, the perfect embodiment of love, culminating in the greatest act of love: laying down his life for others.
So, while it is true that God has withheld the roles of elder, deacon, and preacher from women, he has honored them with a natural temperament and disposition that displays Christ even more so than men… one which us men should look up to and aspire to, and perhaps be a little envious of.
Here’s to all the godly women of our lives, who live for the glory of God by living for the happiness of others.