Intended to Bring Blessings
by Kristi Meyer
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:27).
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:40).
In the midst of all things pandemic, you might have missed an anniversary last summer. On August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment and gave women the right to vote. One hundred years later, we live in a time and place where women enjoy unprecedented freedom. “Be all that you can be” doesn’t apply only to the US Army. Congresswoman, stay-at-home mom, CEO, astronaut, doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, engineer, and even vice president—never before have women had so many paths available to them.
When I tell people that I belong to the WELS, I commonly hear “That’s the church that doesn’t let women vote, isn’t it? Why would you, as a strong and independent female, belong to that church?”
And yet, there is often a sharp contrast between a society that offers seemingly endless possibilities for women and a church body where it can feel as though more doors are closed for women than are open. When I tell people that I belong to the WELS, I commonly hear “That’s the church that doesn’t let women vote, isn’t it? Why would you, as a strong and independent female, belong to that church?” Passages like 1 Corinthians 14:34 (“Women should remain silent in the churches…”) and 1 Timothy 2:12 (“I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man…”) sound archaic and outdated to our modern ears. I’ll be honest: these passages tend to make me bristle, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this initial reaction to them.
But that’s not the intent of these passages, and that certainly wasn’t God’s intent in establishing unique callings for men and women. It’s so easy to forget why God designed men and women the way that he did. It was a design instituted in a perfect world at the very dawn of time, a design intended to maintain order in this newly created world, a design that allowed Adam and Eve to complement each other and work together as partners without any hint of superiority or inferiority in God’s eyes. In short, God established his design for men and women to bring them blessings.
Our world is no longer perfect, however, and this imperfection shows itself in all aspects of life—including in our rebellion against embracing and living out our unique callings. In the home, in the church, in the world, we may covet the calling we don’t have and fixate on what we can’t do. We might chafe against what feels at times like an outdated and misogynistic system—a system sometimes seems to stand in contrast to the world’s empowerment of women—and we are susceptible to losing sight of the blessings God intended to impart.
Our unique callings once again become a blessing rather than a burden, and we once again learn to balance the beauty of God’s design with its implementation in today’s modern world.
What’s the antidote to these sinful reactions? It’s simple yet profound: time spent in the Word. Careful study of the passages surrounding the unique callings of men and women reminds us anew of the perfection of God’s design—the design of our Father God, the one who loves us and who planned for our salvation from eternity. Our unique callings once again become a blessing rather than a burden, and we once again learn to balance the beauty of God’s design with its implementation in today’s modern world.
This devotional series is intended to guide and assist you in that journey of spending time in the Word. Throughout the summer, we’ll be looking at the unique callings of men and women through related but differing lenses. Each week, we’ll bring you two devotions: first, a devotion examining a timeless biblical principle—a doctrine that has remained constant since its verbal inspiration by the Holy Spirit, a foundational teaching that is crucial to understand; and second, a devotion diving deeper into applications—specific ways in which these principles play out in our lives, ways that look different both from biblical times to now and from one modern situation to another.
Permit me one final note…we at WELS Women’s Ministry are incredibly excited about this devotional series. We are so thankful for the opportunity to share our thoughts on the unique callings of men and women—thoughts of confessional Lutheran women, thoughts that are thoroughly grounded in and shaped by study of the Word. Our prayer for this series is simple: that it might be as beneficial for you as it has been for us. May God richly bless our journey together this summer!
For Further Reflection
Meditate on or write about your personal experience with the doctrine of the unique callings of men and women. How has this doctrine been a blessing to you? How have you struggled with it?
Lord God, all of your designs are intended to bring us blessings. Yet in a sinful world, we still struggle with some of these designs and fail to bask in the blessings you so eagerly desire to bring us. Keep these blessings in front of us as we study the unique callings of men and women. Through your Word, increase our understanding of and our appreciation for our unique callings, and help us always to use our various callings and vocations to serve you and those around us. Amen.
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