I stood over my 6:15 coffee, bleary-eyed and barely awake, mulling the day's schedule over in my mind and hoping I hadn't forgotten anything important. Nonchalantly, I reached for the creamer, and remembered from the day before that it was empty. Mechanically, my reaching and grasping motion continued on autopilot and, lo and behold, someone had refilled the creamer dispenser. No doubt my beautiful wife, who takes care of all the "little" things in our home, had taken the time to complete but one more of the many thankless tasks necessary to keep our family going. It is like that all too often, and to my shame, I fail to say "thank you" nearly enough. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies" (Proverbs 31:10).
The subjective, submissive role of women in the home and in the church has never lent itself to public accolades or front-page recognition. It is unfortunate that we forget the many references Paul makes to our equality of value in Christ where "there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
"Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness" (1 Corinthians 12:22-23).
The very nature of a woman's glory is in her quiet spirit, so that their husbands "may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold her chaste conversation coupled with fear" (1 Peter 3:1-2). But, lest we think the quiet spirit less essential, we would be beneficially reminded that in all of God's creation, as the creative process unfolded day by day, there was a continual statement of satisfaction: "and God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1:10, 13, 18, 21, 25). There was only one exception, only one "not good." "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18). God placed his divine stamp on the value of a woman, and no sleight of hand by mindless men will ever diminish ought from its reality.
The contributions of godly women so often go unheralded, yet the church rarely lacks for them. Their commitment to Christ is conspicuous in their attendance, often in spite of non-supportive husbands. They attend the Gospel meetings, the evangelism workshops and nursing home devotionals. Their dedication radiates in their preparations for fellowship meals, their visits to the sick, or that cheery card that lifts you from the pit of despair or just lets you know that you were a welcome visitor to the assembly. The children of our members, the next generation of the church, we place into their capable hands and, too often, without so much as a "how-do-you-do." And considering Jesus' attitude toward children, the parallel puts the woman's contribution on an ethereal plateau. To leave these accomplishments unsung is villainous.
God has employed women throughout the history of mankind to benefit the race, beginning with Eve. Sarah called Abraham Lord (1 Peter 3:6). Deborah shamed Barak into action (Judges 4:9) while Ruth brightened the dark ages of Israel's history (Ruth 1:1ff). Jochebed bravely hid Moses (Exodus 2:2) and Hannah dedicated Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11). Jehosheba saved a king of Israel (2 Kings 2:11) and Esther saved Israel from a king (Esther 4:16). Aged Elizabeth was blessed in her patience (Luke 1:25) and Mary "found favor with God" (Luke 1:30). Joanna and Susanna walked with our Lord (Luke 8:2-3) and Mary Magdalene was the first to proclaim the risen Savior (Mark 16:9). Without Lois and Eunice, there would have been no promising, young evangelist, Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5). With godly women, it was never an issue of who leads or who gets the glory, and some remain nameless to this day. But, heaven's record lists them each one beside their wonderful works.
There is no replacement for a godly wife, and though "her price is far above rubies," she rarely received flowers for her efforts. The wise husband
"praiseth her. 'Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised'" (Proverbs 31:28-29).
The godly wife is an essential element to a successful marriage. There is no substitute for the godly mother who
"giveth meat to her household . . . for all her household are clothed with scarlet . . . She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed . . . (and) her own works praise her in the gate" (Proverbs 31:15, 21, 27-28, 31).
"Honour thy . . . mother" is part of "the first commandment with promise" (Ephesians 6:2) and should be perpetually practiced.
There is no alternative to godly women in the church. Their place of submissive service is critical to the church and invaluable to its growth. They have been blessed with responsibility of continuing "in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" (1 Timothy 2:15). Support, understanding and praise are due in "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over" (Luke 6:38) for "her price is far above rubies."