God's Appointed Role for Women
TODAY AS NEVER BEFORE women are playing a bigger role in our modern society. I have before me three magazines all dated March, 1972. Two of them are Reviews. The other is a secular magazine called Time. Each Review has an article on women. The Time magazine is a special issue devoted almost entirely to women. Some of the titles of the many articles found in this magazine are "The New Woman, Where She Is and Where She's Going;" "Woman's Liberation Revisited;" and "Toward Female Power at the Polls." The Review articles are en titled "Jesus and Women" and "Paul and Women." (I really appreciate these articles very much. If you have not read them, they are the March 16 and March 23 issues. I'm sure you will enjoy them.)
Perhaps as Seventh-day Adventist women we need to take a new look at the role of Christian women. We need to settle in our own minds just where we fit into the plan of God. Has our role changed in these modern times? The secular magazine mentioned before seems to think so.
As the Review articles mention, in Christ's day the status of women was very low. They were not allowed by custom to speak in public, nor even allowed to read the Scriptures. Men were not allowed to speak to them in public. Today, where do we stand? Are women inferior to men? Some have taken the writings of Paul in Corinthians out of context and say they are inferior, forgetting that Paul also wrote in Galatians that there is neither male nor female to God for all are one in Christ. Then does God have a place and a plan for women here at the close of earth's history? Will God use women to help finish the work? He surely used them in the past. Read these statements: "In ancient times the Lord worked in a wonderful way through consecrated women who united in His work with men whom He had chosen to stand as His representatives. He used women to gain great and decisive victories."—Medical Ministry, p. 60.
How did Jesus regard women? In His treatment of them He showed that He regarded them as equal with men in responsibility to God. We find in many instances He deliberately disregarded custom pertaining to the inferiority of women. He used godly women to assist in the work of soul-saving just as surely as He used the disciples. To a woman was entrusted the first resurrection message. In Paul's work we find women sharing in the work of ministry, service, and sacrifice in the early church. "Paul had high esteem for women who were truly converted and active in their witness. Many, whom he mentions, worked with him personally. Of the 25 people mentioned in Romans 16, eight are women."—Review and Herald, March 23.
Then, if women are equal to men in their responsibility to God, just how are they to work for their Lord? In the secular magazine mentioned, women were pictured as trapped in laundry rooms, imprisoned in houses caring for children, or slaves to dishes and diapers. Have women reached a higher sphere, now that they no longer are needed as "homemakers" and mothers? (I do not like the word housewife. I am not a wife to a house. I am a homemaker.) According to the Spirit of Prophecy there is a danger that women will want to enter a higher sphere than that which God has assigned them. "In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character, and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them."—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 59.
Then we need to find out just what that Heaven-appointed work is. We want to fulfill our role as women in God's appointed way. In God's plan women were used and will be used to help finish the work of the gospel. But how? Where are we most needed?
Satan loves extremes. He uses this weapon very skillfully in his work of deception. Now that the role of women has been elevated and brought to some degree of equality, Satan is using the extreme view by advocating that women are now on such a high plane that homemaking is degrading. The "in thing" is for women to work outside the home. Satan has succeeded well in degrading the true work of women in the eyes of the world so that it is be coming out of date to see a woman at home with her family. He has succeeded well in glorifying the woman who works out. What a master tool Satan has produced here to destroy our homes and hence our complete society!
Mothers who consider home duties uninteresting and monotonous need to take a second look at their attitudes. Perhaps if more time were spent in making home "the happiest place on earth" it would become more challenging. Mothers who insist on getting away from the home and children to pursue their own careers manifest an extremely selfish spirit. Somewhere they have lost their sense of values. No matter how competent and reliable a baby sitter may be, she can never take the place of the mother to the child. That child will suffer the lack of a mother's tender love and care. And this could be manifested sooner or later in some adverse character development.
As leaders among women, we have a grave responsibility to exemplify true motherhood by being mothers who choose to stay at home because this is where we find our greatest joy and happiness. Mothers who sense the high responsibility of rearing our children for God. Mothers who realize that "in the formation of character, no other influences count so much as the influence of the home" (Education, p. 283). And mothers who realize that "more than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years will decide whether a man shall be victorious or vanquished in the battle of life" (Messages to Young People, p. 134).
Let us read further Spirit of Prophecy quotations so we may intelligently understand why as Christian mothers we should choose to stay at home with our families and fulfill our Heaven-appointed role as women. These quotations need no additional comments.
"The mother's influence never ceases. It is ever active, either for good or for evil; and if she would have her work abide the test of the Judgment, she must make God her trust and labor with an eye single to His glory. Her first duty is to her children, to so mold their characters that they may be happy in this life and secure the future, immortal life."— Welfare Ministry, p. 158.
"The mother who trains her children for Christ is as truly working for God as is the minister in the pulpit."—Prophets and Kings, p. 219.
"We may safely say that the dignity and importance of woman's mission and distinctive duties are of more sacred and holy character than the duties of man. . . . Let woman realize the sacredness of her work and, in the strength and fear of God, take up her life mission."— Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 565.
"God has given the mother, in the education of her children, a responsibility paramount to every thing else."— Welfare Ministry, p. 158.
"Never will woman be degraded by this work [in the home]. It is the most sacred, elevated office that she can fill."— Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 80.
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