Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011 … Compassionate Loyalty

Passage of the Day: Matthew 27: 55 … Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for His needs.

My Journal for Today: In this passage we read of women, who follow Christ loyally as He had commanded in Luke 9: 23. Yes, these were true “disciples,” living out Christ’s commands in that passage, offering their special gifts/services for their Savior, … women who deserved special recognition in God’s word, which was provided by God’s Spirit through the Gospel author, Matthew in today’s highlight passage. Most certainly they will have Christ’s recognition in Heaven; but in today’s verse we see the women who followed Jesus (in the background as he traveled in His earthly ministry) receiving singular recognition as they followed their Lord all the way to the cross.

And by the way, it’s interesting to note that the women followers of Jesus didn’t bolt and run in fear as did His close male disciples. To some degree this is still evident today in the preponderance of female service and involvement in most Christian churches in America – the women serving Christ faithfully and the men, with some exceptions, of course, exhibiting a “bolt and run” attitude when confronted with the truth of Christ’s rigorous commands toward discipleship/ministry/mission (see Acts 1: 8, Matt. 28: 19-20, and again – Luke 9: 23).

The women who faithfully serve God’s will and in His work have their role models in these women of Matt. 27, who, though crushed in despair, still ministered to their Lord’s needs, even in light of His hanging on the tree at Golgotha. We read about three of them further in John 19: 25 – 27 … women who loved their Lord and of Christ’s love for them …

SCRIPTURE: John 19: 25-27 Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

In today’s church, as I alluded above, we see the counterparts of these loyal and compassionate warriors, … women who, in today’s church, quietly and faithfully follow Jesus even through incredibly rough circumstances. They pray for others diligently. They work quietly with little or no up-front recognition, using their gifts for God’s glory. And they share their faith, through Christlike action, even when they are not sharing the Gospel verbally (which many of them do very effectively as well). More often and often more effectively than Christian men, I believe, the Sisters of God’s family are more faithful in their witness and true to Christ’s Great Commission (see Matt. 28: 19 – 20) than are today’s Christian men.

As an Elder in our church, I am blessed to be able to see this in action. As a blessed husband of one of these “faithful warriors,” I see this every day. In so many ways, my wife and the women of our church are faithful as surrendered servants in God’s kingdom. We are also blessed in our church to have many men who are servant-leaders for Christ; but more men need to be more active in God’s kingdom; and they, the men, are outnumbered as core members of our church – probably 3 to 1.

The women of my church, however, live both sides of the model given to us by Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, close friends of our Lord during His earthly ministry – giving faithful service and devoted worship as their personal ministry and witness, tirelessly using their gifts for the betterment of God’s kingdom and for His glory. If you’re a man and reading this, I would hope that this convicts you, as it does me, and directs you to be more faithful and to take the servant-leader role in God’s kingdom very seriously in your local church home.

But … Hail God’s powerful and dutiful women!! And I am blessed to married to one who embodies all that today’s passage captures.

My Prayer Today: Thank you, Lord, for Your servant, Elly Berry, whom You gave to me to be my helpmeet. Amen

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