On Sunday, our pastor gave a sermon about Deborah. (If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Deborah, you can find it in the book of Judges, chapters 4 and 5).
Wait, wait! I see your eyes glazing over. Stay with me…I promise this won’t be boring.
Deborah was a woman in a man’s world. She was raised up by God to be a judge – not a typical profession for a woman in Biblical times. A judge was a political, spiritual, and military leader all rolled into one, and Pastor John spoke of the reasons why Deborah was chosen by God for this important role:
1. Deborah was close to God, and she was discerning. People respected her leadership. (Judges 4:4-5)
2. She was a good leader because she planned ahead. She had a strategy and was organized. (Judges 4:6-7)
3. She led by example. (Judges 4:8-10)
4. She knew how and when to delegate authority, (4: 12-18, 20-22) because she understood her strengths and weaknesses.
Pastor John gave this sermon as part of a series about leadership, and before he began, he told the men in the congregation to sit up and pay attention, because though his message was about a woman, they could all learn something valuable from it. He said,
“Never underestimate the power and influence of a woman. I daresay that many of you sitting here today would not have come to Christ if not for the godly example and influence of your wives, or your mothers. It’s not for nothing that they say, ‘The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.'”
I wanted to share this with you because I hope that each of you, no matter what your role in life right now, will take some very important points from it:
1) You, as a woman, have an amazing leadership opportunity. If your husband is not a Christian, you can greatly influence him (and those around you) by emulating the leadership qualities of Deborah. Stay close to God, and seek His will. Lead by example, and show your husband the happiness and peace that comes with a relationship with Jesus. I was a Christian before my husband was, and I prayed and prayed for him to know Jesus. I studied my Bible, and I talked to him about what I was learning (even though he didn’t seem interested). I bought him his own Bible, though at first he wouldn’t read it. I asked others to pray for him, and I encouraged him to go to a men’s Bible study (he wouldn’t). I pushed a little harder, and he dug in his heels. But I didn’t give up! Today he is a devout Christian, and a faithful daily Bible reader.
2) As a mother, your role is so important. Society does not respect or value motherhood as it should, but God does. One of the greatest responsibilities we’re given is to educate and train our children to love and follow the Lord (Proverbs 22:6), and you are one of the most influential people in your child’s life. Don’t underestimate yourself.
3) We can learn much from Deborah about managing our homes and our lives. I don’t like to throw the Titus 2, and Proverbs 31 examples around much, because I think they can be daunting and overwhelming for many women, but do remember that our masterfully-designed world says much about God. He is a God of order – not confusion. Deborah was a good leader because she was organized, and had a plan. We can be much more effective as leaders in our own homes if we follow her example.
4) Deborah knew her strengths and weaknesses, and delegated authority when someone else was better suited for the job. Don’t spend so much time trying to fix your weaknesses that you lose sight of the good you can do by focusing on your strengths.
5) Finally, the story of Deborah teaches us something about God’s view of women. Do you think that God would have raised Deborah up in such an important role, where she was in authority over men, opposing all of the norms and customs of her time, if he viewed her as a second-class citizen? No way! I know that in certain Christian circles, women aren’t allowed to hold leadership roles in the church, (among other restrictions that make me so angry I could spit!) But…Deborah’s story shows us that God wants us to use our talents and gifts for His glory, and He will help us to overcome any obstacles in our way.
Erma Bombeck once wrote, “Hey, you, scraping cookies out of the carpet. You were there when talent was passed out. He just had to bend down a bit to give it to you. Don’t return it to Him unused.”
After I read this, I thought for a long time about my talents. At first, it’s easy to think, “Oh, I don’t have any, I’m just a housewife, I’m just a mother….blah blah blah.” But to God, you’re not just anything! You’re important and valuable to Him! And when I was honest with myself, I realized that my talent is, and always has been, writing. I just had to figure out how I could use that gift, while caring for a house and 2 (now 3) little kids. That’s when I started this blog.
I hope you’ll take a moment today, in between loads of laundry, and phone calls, and running and fetching, and think about this… what are your talents? And how can you use them for Him today?