There is no doubt that some interpret Scripture as presenting women as in some way second class citizens or subservient to men ... and if one wants to have such a picture of the role of women, you will find the necessary Scriptures to support such a view. This Mothers' Day (in the UK Mothers' Day is the fourth Sunday in Lent) I want to lay before you a view that women are in no way subservient or inferior, and will find the Scriptures to support such a view. My starting point will be the proverbial wife of noble character.
If we look at these last verses of Proverbs, we see some of the roles that the wife played in the household:
She works incredibly hard in the home:
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She works hard in the world:
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She watches over the affairs of her household
She is a business women in her own right:
She sees that her trading is profitable,
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She has what today is called a social conscience
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
She has learnt the greatest lesson of all in the Scriptures, namely that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom:
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
It is no doubt that it is women such as these that supported our Lord’s ministry. Have you ever wondered how Jesus and His disciples survived in the travelling ministry that Jesus called them to? You might remember that He called them away from their occupations as tax collectors and fishermen. So how did they survive?
After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
The answer of course is: Women ... Godly women ... wise women ... wives of men outside of Jesus circle ... “Where is all the money going that you’re earning from your hard work dear? I was hoping to have built an extra room on by now”
“Oh, I’m using it to support a preacher who is causing quite a stir in Galilee and Jerusalem.”
An abusive husband would say: “Oh no you’re not! I’ll decide what we do with the money in this house.”
A Godly husband, on the other hand, will say:
‘Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.’
The rest of our service today is given over to testimonies about women who have in some way demonstrated Godliness to us.