Monday, July 23, 2012

Woman: The Shepherdess, the Gleaner, and the Teaspoon

Let me begin with a few questions:

Whom were you meant to be?

What were you meant to do?

Where should you be doing it?

Why should you do it?

How should it be accomplished?

I’m not going to answer these questions for you.
I’m going to give some biblical examples and a little illustration with the hope you will seriously consider them before answering these questions for yourself. It is my earnest desire and prayer that you will not forget these little vignettes and the verses which accompany them, but will chew on them, meditate on their meaning, pray over them, and eventually see the answers all in their beautiful simplicity.

I. Woman is like a shepherdess of sheep:

I have been studying the history of feminism in America
and was shocked to find that its roots are firmly established in the church. Women left home by droves to help the downtrodden before they ever left for work. This seemingly holy endeavor opened the flood gates of feminism and paved the way for what happened in the sixties. There is a poem the Lord gave me posted on the blog called Keeping Lambs at Home which illustrates this perfectly. She heard the cry of lost sheep and left her lambs at home.

The men of that era asked the women, “With whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?”[1]

The women thought they were the future queens of Israel and responded indignantly, “Is there not a cause?”

Yet, these ladies were not Davids, for though there is a righteous cause, God never calls women to leave their own flocks in order to fight giants or lead nations. She is indeed a shepherdess of her Father’s flock like Zipporah and Rachel of Bible days of old.[2] However, she is not to be a keeper of the community, but of her own family and household. It doesn’t “take a village” to rear a family of children any more than it takes a farmers’ co-op to raise a flock of sheep.

In this way, woman is like a shepherdess.

II. Woman is like a gleaner of sheaves:

Women are gleaners in the harvest of God just as Ruth who gleaned in the field of Boaz.
[3] Though we are just as necessary for a complete ingathering, we are gleaners at best, not field hands. You will notice in this story that Boaz had his women servants glean in the fields while the young men were the reapers.

Now, it is true the Lord may drop handfuls on purpose at times, but they will only be handfuls, not bundles of shorn grain. Those times will be only as much as we can pick up and carry at once according to the strength which He has given us as weaker vessels. Consider that the first handful we must pick up lies directly at our feet: perhaps our parents, our siblings, and most assuredly our children.

There is no excuse for women to say, “If the men won’t do it, then we must.” For, the Lord of the Harvest has clearly stated that, when we see the harvest being neglected, we must “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest.”[4] Again, he sends laborers, not gleaners, when the harvest is ripe. We gleaners must prayerfully wait for the laborers to be sent before coming behind in our supporting role.

Thus, woman is like a gleaner.

II. Woman is like a teaspoon:

"A teaspoon?" you ask. How can a woman be like a lowly teaspoon?
A teaspoon is useless to knead bread dough. You need a Bosch Universal with a dough hook for that. But, are teaspoons really useless? No way! You need a teaspoon to stir your coffee and tea.

A simpleton may ask, but wouldn’t a Bosch Universal do a more thorough and quicker job of stirring your hot drinks? Of course, it could, but it would be utterly ridiculous and unnecessary, not to mention a little messy. Teaspoons may be common and most people may have a whole drawer full, but who would be silly enough to use a Bosch when he has a teaspoon?

It is just as preposterous for a man to be a homekeeper when a woman, though a weaker instrument, is so perfectly fashioned to accomplish the task. Notice, also, that the ability of the teaspoon is in both the ingredients of the mixture and in the strength of the one who is stirring. In like manner, the Lord gives the woman tasks which are according to her ability, then enables her to do them as He purposes.

And so, woman is like a teaspoon.

Just a few things to ponder today.

[1] I Samuel 17, specifically verses 28 and 29
[2] Exodus 2:16-21; Genesis 29:1-12
[3] Ruth 2:3
[4] Luke 10:2