A couple of weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between a group of young Christian men at a traditional church. They were discussing the role of a woman in the church and life in general. They held the firm view that women should never hold positions of leadership in the church, let alone other spheres of life, they insisted women are ‘just helpers’. When I read my Bible and I read about, Deborah, Esther, Ruth, Mary, Lady Proverbs 31 the list goes on... I see courageous, selfless, strong, resourceful, sacrificing women. When I look at mothers all around and watch the fierce fight the put on in this life for all that we hold dear, I think to myself, just a helper they said…
Deborah, prophetess and judge, mother and wife, a woman whose yes or no determined the course of a war…just a helper, they said.
Esther….the beautiful queen who saved an entire race from annihilation, a woman who showed rare courage and in the face of uncertainty and said, “if I perish, I perish”…just a helper, they said
Ruth, who was courageous enough to leave all that was familiar to her for the love of a woman who inspired her and a God she came to call her own…just a helper, they said
Mary, who in the face of ridicule, loss of her fiancé and possible death at the prospect of becoming an unwed mother in ancient Israel became a co-worker with God to bring to earth the Saviour of the world….just a helper, they said.
In my quest to learn, I have come to discover that in the original Hebrew text of Genesis the words used to describe Eve are “ezer kenedgo’ words used only a dozen times in the Old testament, words that bear a very different meaning from help or helper as it is used in every other context, elsewhere in the Bible. The literal interpretation of these words are “sustainer beside”. For me this was a profound revelation. I realised God gave man a mission, a vision but man on his own couldn’t possibly fulfil God’s purpose, so God knew just what he needed, a sustainer beside him, to sustain that purpose, that vision, those dreams and a million other things.
…sustains the family the basic unit of society, raises children, she teaches the little ones their first words. She shows up at school plays and recitals, PTA meetings, college graduations, she kisses scraped knees and chases monsters in the middle of the night so her little ones can sleep peacefully, she Is on call 24/7, , she is a jack of all trades,. She sustains a Godly legacy. She is a homemaker; she can stay up the whole night with an ailing child and put in a full day’s work come morning.
…holds together all the other facets of life, her husband trusts her with his life because she does him good always. She takes care of all the needs of her family. We all know men at times will follow a single-minded pursuit of their goals sometimes to the detriment of everything that lies in their path; the sustainer keeps everything else going around him while he pursues his dreams. She will try to fill the void as best she can.
…sustains relationships, more often than not women are the peacemakers, the lovers, the listeners, the shoulder to cry on, the hug you need to get through the day, or the reassuring smile, sometimes it’s just that worried look that lets you know someone cares, sometimes it’s the gentle whisper of someone in the middle of the night asking are you ok when you have a nightmare, sometimes it’s the time you hear your name spoken to God when she is deep in prayer, sometimes it’s a kiss on your cheek and ‘I love you ’ that makes life more meaningful. She sustains a peaceful environment, a haven, a place of rest and tranquillity, her gentleness is soothing, her love is unconditional; any man who has the love of a woman has found great treasure.
…sustains creativity, she is an entrepreneur, she puts her hands to work, whether it be an 8 to 5 p.m. job, or a business enterprise, a part-time job, consultancy, she is capable in herself but sometimes has to sacrifice her dreams so that those she loves can thrive.
Just a helper, they said…