What Is My Purpose As A Christian Woman?
The empty-headed treat life as a plaything;
the perceptive grasp its meaning and make a go of it.
Proverbs 15:21 (The Message)
I find it hard to stay on purpose with all the distractions in my life. This week we have been "staging" our home to put it on the market at the end of the month. The process of removing and distributing our personal belongings is yet one more distraction from the substantive things I would rather be doing.
Years ago one of my favorite Christian authors did me a tremendous favor by describing what I am to stay focused on in language I could understand. Sometimes I hunger for someone to just simply tell me what to do! What a relief when a respectable person spells it out clearly.
In Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, Anne Ortlund writes, "As a woman your eternity-oriented task is to affect others, to move them to God through the Savior, Jesus Christ. Your temporary task, for the years you have them, is to affect the members of your physical family, by whatever means you can, to be "born again" into God's eternal family and to grow within that family to spiritual maturity. Your lifelong task, at least from conversion on, whether married or single, is to influence everyone you can, to the same ends - to help them become temple material of gold, silver and precious stones." (Inspirational Press: New York, pages 74 & 75)
Anne's comment regarding temple material of gold, silver and precious stones is a reference to the Apostle Paul's remarks in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NLT), Because of God's special favor to me, I have laid a foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have - Jesus Christ. Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.
This Scripture stimulated a good discussion with my theologian husband. I asked him to define the kind of works that will survive this sort of testing. His definition is "selfless acts for which I receive no reward here on earth." He pointed me to Matthew 6:1 (NASB) where Jesus says, Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them, otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
With these thoughts in mind, my purpose as a Christian woman is clear. I am to be about doing selfless acts of service and I am to encourage others to practice them as well. Sometimes I need to be reminded that the selfless acts done in secret - especially those that are the most obscure and unnoticed - are the very ones God values most. This is the true reward of a purpose-driven life!