Friday, February 26, 2010

Woman's Calling: Helper

I have been praying and thinking about hosting a mother-daughter tea and wondering what I should share as a devotional. God is giving me a whole bunch of good tidbits to share. Now I need to organize them. For now here is a tidbit.

Women were created to be helpers--a comparable help-mate for her man. See Genesis 1. The Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete, which is Greek for Helper. So we women are a type of the Third Person of the Trinity in that we are also helpers. If even Almighty God is called our Helper, should we then feel demeaned by such a title?

What are some characteristics of the Holy Spirit that we can emulate?
1. He does not seek His own glory, but that of another. When the name of Jesus Christ is exalted, the Holy Spirit is at work. The Holy Spirit operates by the motto "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30)
2. He helps by providing the support, the strength, the power necessary for others to flourish.
3. He works almost secretively, in cognito. His effective work is often mistaken for that of another, often human, agent. Yet He is okay with that, for He does not seek His own glory. "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

Doesn't this describe well our condition as home-centered women? We often work to assist our husbands so they can flourish in the marketplace or civic circle. Yet we do not get a lot of credit for it. Our names are "lost" in that of our husbands when we take on their surname. In earlier days a woman would even give up her first name in public by signing "Mrs. John Smith". Douglas Wilson, in his book Reforming Marriage, points out that this practice was rooted in a biblical understanding of a wife's role as helper. It rubs most of us the wrong way today, steeped as we are in egalitarian thought.

SO we must ask ourselves the hard questions: am I willing to give up my identity for the sake of my husband's name? Do I love him enough to lose myself in him? Am I willing to focus on his needs more than my own, and break my back for his benefit?
This is no more than what Christ did for me: "7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2) Can I do any less?

Mr. Wilson also points out that a man's calling is defined by what type of occupation he chooses, while a woman's calling is defined more by the particular man she is called to help. Not what she does, but who she helps.

A woman's activities are not limited to the home; nor are they narrow in scope and aspect. She can help her husband with his occupation; if she is widowed, she can fill the shoes he emptied, for her continued support. She can consider a field and buy it, and steward it to bring him and her children greater wealth.

If a woman goes to work for another man or woman, however, she needs to consider--is she helping her own husband to flourish, or is another man benefiting more from her help?

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