Baking is Not a Spiritual Gift
Recently I was silently tracking with the brother who was praying at our midweek meeting. He thanked God for the young people coming up in our assembly. For the young men-leading, teaching, praying and participating.
And then he added thanks too for the young women who are also stepping up to the plate in the local assembly…serving and making desserts and such. Yes, he actually used those words.
Oh.my.word! I was thoroughly exasperated! Does he really think this? (see my previous article) Ah, and such fodder for an article!
Three points to clarify right out of the gate:
- I have no problem with young women (or young men, for that matter) serving in their local assemblies by way of making snacks, or desserts, or other consumables for potlucks, outreaches, and fellowship times.
- Serving is definitely a spiritual gift. But, it is not relegated only to women, nor does it only manifest itself in making food for, or cleaning up after, assembly functions.
- I love cooking. As a matter of fact, I run a cooking/food-based business. I regularly demonstrate love for the people in my life by cooking nourishing and delicious food for them. If I love you, I cook for you. If I like you, I cook for you. If I can’t stand you, I probably cook for you too.
But, I certainly do NOT equate cooking and cleaning with the spiritual roles, responsibilities, and (might I say) gifts of women in the assemblies.
Does that statement raise your hackles? (like mine were raised at prayer meeting…)
If a woman’s (or man’s) gift IS serving, serving IS the way they contribute to local body life.
Varieties of gifts
But, if serving is NOT actually their spiritual gift, there is MUCH more that each woman should be contributing to the spiritual life and functioning of the local assembly.
Caveat #4: (continuing from above) Within scriptural guidelines (I’m looking at 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, plus Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12), there are ways for women to use their spiritual gifts in the context of the local church to edify the body of Christ.
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed…Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-11 (ESV)
We MUST recognize these gifts in young women, and we MUST encourage them to use their gifts.
- If her gift is giving…there are ways for her to contribute generously.
- If her gift is teaching, there are opportunities for her to teach (Sunday school, discipleship, women’s Bible studies come immediately to mind).
- If her gift is evangelizing, she should be sharing the good news with the lost.
- If her gift is mercy or exhortation, the neglected skill of counseling is a path to exercise those gifts.
Equip for more
Why does this matter?
If we fail to see our young women as spiritual beings in their own right, with spiritual gifts, roles and responsibilities, we cripple them in the present and our churches in the future. Thus:
- We need to be teaching our young women the importance of their personal walk with the Lord.
- We need to teach them the value of prayer. Baring their hearts to the Faithful God, the One who can move mountains.
- We need to teach them how to study their Bibles-for their own Christian growth. And also to not be lead astray by popular and very vocal, and often very wrong, Christian women in our current evangelical culture.
- We need to teach them the practice of hospitality, and the way it’s a tool to minister to the saints and reach the lost and to disciple believers.
- We need to teach them how to evangelize. We need to teach them what the gospel is, and how to share that with the lost.
- We need to be teaching them how to lead Bible studies and how to teach Sunday school and shepherd children and other young women.
- We need to teach them how to visit the sick, new moms, and the elderly. How to bring encouragement to those who are on the fringes.
And we ourselves need to be praying that they will step up to the plate and be godly, spiritual young women. We need to expect them to contribute to the body in these ways, as far as they have been gifted by the Holy Spirit.
Too costly to neglect
What happens when we shortsightedly and wrongfully believe that a woman’s role in the local church is limited to physical food and other physical activities?
Let’s assume hypothetically that this brother is correct. That these young women are all fully filling their role in the local body by cooking and doing other forms of service.
What are the future ramifications of this (erroneous) line of thinking?
- If a young woman is not digging into the Word of God and applying it to her life, she will NOT be a godly, spiritual woman.
- If she is not a godly, spiritual woman, she will NOT be a godly, spiritual wife. This means she will neither be partnering with her husband in the work of the Lord (like Aquila and Priscilla) or even seeing the need to support her husband in the work of the Lord. She will not sacrifice time, money and resources for him to be involved. So, we will lose both godly women and godly men in our local churches.
- If a young woman is not a godly, spiritual woman, she will NOT be a godly, spiritual mother. And she will NOT raise godly offspring. If the cultivation of her godliness was not of utmost importance, why would she consider it important for her children? There will be no godly future generations.
- If a woman is not a godly, spiritual woman, they will NOT be a godly and spiritual older woman…who is tasked with teaching the younger women to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in love, faith, and steadfastness. Not slanderers. Not given to much wine. Reverent in behavior. To be pure, working at home, kind, submissive to their husband. (Titus 2)
Our churches are the embodiment of the people in them. Statistically, 50% of the church is women. If we want strong, godly, God-honoring, loving, lost-reaching churches, we need strong, godly, God-honoring, loving, lost-reaching women.
The world is promoting a different message. Self-fulfillment. Self-focus. Self-care. Immediate gratification. Careers. Success. Feminism. The world is competing for their hearts. Their time, service and love.
We can’t compete, but we can teach the truth and offer the authentic alternative. Let’s instill in these young women a high view of God, and a Biblical view of their spirituality and resulting role in the church and in the world!
To paraphrase a well known quote:
Here’s to spiritual women.
May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
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