In carrying out the Saviour's commission to teach all nations the truth of His word, the Lord has given to woman a definite work. Women were used by the Lord in establishing the church of the apostolic age. Paul greatly valued his women helpers. In Romans 16 :1, 2 he says, "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church : . . . that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she bath need of you : for she hath been a succorer of many."
One is left to imagine what kind of work Phebe did in the early church. But may it not well have been much the same as the work of the Bible worker today? In this same letter to the Romans other women are mentioned—Priscilla, Mary, Junia, Julia, and others.
The greatest qualification of a worker is sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. Just as a nurse is invaluable to a physician, so is a good Bible worker invaluable to a minister. The relationship of the nurse to the doctor is the perfect illustration of the relationship of the Bible worker to the evangelist. When a new life is making its advent into this world, the nurse is a great asset to the doctor. Just so, when souls are being born again into the kingdom of God, the spiritual nurse can be of great help.
A true Bible worker, however, recognizes that she is never to usurp the place of the minister, although there may be times when she may have to step into his place in an emergency. I was once working in a large city effort with a minister who through accident arrived at his meeting half an hour late. A large and expectant crowd was awaiting his arrival. Feeling rather nervous, I went to the platform and commenced a Bible study, which was well under way when the minister arrived. I then announced the welcome tidings and quietly retired. The congregation expressed their appreciation for the Bible study, and the minister also appreciated the fact that the meeting was saved from confusion because the Bible worker was prepared for such an emergency.
The best work of the Bible worker, though, is done in the home, and the one consecrated to this work tries to do it efficiently, yet in all humility. First impressions are always lasting, and this is particularly true when a Bible worker sets out on the first visits of an evangelistic effort. She needs to pray much about those first visits, for favorable impressions will do much to pave the way for future interest.
It is a wise policy not to be too eager to enter the home on the first visit, unless invited. If the Bible worker is familiar with the minister's sermon, she has a good point of contact, and can with tact draw out the interest and discover how well the sermon was understood, even going so far as to reconstruct the sermon. All experienced Bible workers know the art of doing this.
When once a regular hearing has been established, it is somewhat easier to proceed. But a worker still needs to use much care and sanctified common sense. At times there may be other members of the family present who are not only disinterested, but sometimes even prejudiced. Such a situation calls for particular tact.
On one occasion, a woman urged us always to get through the study before her husband arrived. She said, "My husband can't stand missionary women." The Bible worker followed this advice for many weeks, but when the Sabbath question was under discussion, and she was very eager to help the reader keep the Sabbath, she forgot the time and stayed longer than usual. Suddenly the door opened and the husband appeared. She dropped the subject at once, greeted the husband, and commenced a conversation about his occupation. The husband was pleased to impart his knowledge.
The next week when the Bible worker was preparing to depart before the husband returned, her reader said, "You need not hurry. My husband quite enjoyed your visit last week." As time went on, the husband found the weekly visit as welcome as did the wife, and readily consented to his wife's becoming a member of our church.
If we walk humbly with the Lord, He will teach us how to be tactful and to say the right thing at the right time. In "Gospel Workers," page 255, we read that God's messengers must tarry long with Him if they would have success in their work. Yes, consecration and goodly tact can do more to break down prejudice and awaken interest in spiritual things than anything else. May God give us all that wisdom which cometh from above.