Christian Professional Women
Ms. Carolyn Pappy K.
Christian Professional Women have a major role to play in the expansion of God’s kingdom! To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48).
Women play a great role in the growth and development of the society and the kingdom of God. This implies that educated women are not only the privileged ones but do have a responsibility to the society at large.
Women from the Bible who were Used of God
There are numerous examples of women used of God in the Bible. Huldah was used of God as a prophetess (II Kings 22:15…). Some other used as prophetess were Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail and Esther.
In the New Testament we find few professional women who made an impact for God’s kingdom.
All the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made (Acts 9:39).
In the New Testament there are several examples as to how lay women used their talents in building God’s kingdom. Dorcas was one of the women who contributed immensely to the society and the work of God. Dorcas implies that she was a Hellenist; that is, a Jewess who lived among the Greeks and spoke the Greek language, but who had become a Christian. Dorcas is described as being "full of good works and alms deeds which she did." She cared for the sick, the poor, the widows, the orphans and the burdened mothers among whom she was an instrument of mercy in the community. Her faith was exhibited in her works. Paul writes that we are to be careful to maintain good works. James emphasizes that faith without works is dead, and Jesus declared that a tree is known by its fruits. Dorcas was an active, effective witness and through her good deeds she became a mother to many. Her life is a model for us today who can contribute much to the society and the kingdom of God at large.
And a certain woman named Lydia... heard us; whose heart the Lord opened (Acts 16:14)
Lydia was a woman whose heart God opened and came from Thyatira which was a city in the province of Lydia of Asia Minor. She was a business woman engaged in merchandising dye for which Thyatira was famous. She is described as "a seller of purple." It was used by the kings and by the wealthy class. Sometimes decrees were passed by kings that no one in a realm might use this but royalty. Lydia's enterprise in purple was either the export-import business, or she was the representative of it in Europe. She represents that large segment of women who have taken an interest in business across world today who are interested in Christian activity.
There are number of examples of professional women, who have worked and continue to work as lay missionaries. These women who are teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, architects, accountants, CEO’s of companies, agriculturists, and women skilled in variety of trades are being used of God.
Mother Teresa is one of the many examples who came to India as a member of the Irish Loreto Sisters began her missionary life as a teacher in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Later, Mother Teresa believed that a greater need than education was to serve the poorest of the poor in Kolkata.
After basic training in medicine and nursing with the American Medical Mission sisters at Patna, she returned to Kolkata and founded a new order, the Missionaries of Charity, who committed themselves to the poorest of the poor. Shortly, later she was joined by former students from the Loreto School where she had been the principal. Her work of charity by 1960’s began spreading to different parts of India and the world. At the time of Mother Teresa's death, The Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity numbered 3,914 members, and were established in 594 communities in 123 countries of the world. Her work continues under the guidance of Sister Mary PremaPierick, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity Sisters. The order has grown over 5,000 members in 697 foundations in 131 countries of the world.
In 2003, six years after mother Teresa’s death, Pope John Paul II, said:
"As you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40). This Gospel passage, so crucial in understanding Mother Teresa's service to the poor, was the basis of her faith-filled conviction that in touching the broken bodies of the poor she was touching the body of Christ. It was to Jesus himself, hidden under the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, that her service was directed. Mother Teresa highlights the deepest meaning of service - an act of love done to the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, prisoners (cf. Matthew 25:34-36) is done to Jesus himself.”
Mother Teresa was a strict disciplinarian, a smart organizer. She understood the influence she had over people but used that for the right purpose.
Responsibility in the Workplace
The responsibility of Christian Professional women is to encourage and strengthen fellow Christian women in becoming everything God intends them to be. The professional women have immense opportunity and are the privileged in the society for they are the trend setters and women of influence. They can open doors to the gospel in their respective places of work, where other Christian leaders and pastors may not have access. Providing opportunities for women in the workplace to come together for Bible-based worship, fellowship, discipleship, and encouragement will lead to advance the spread of the gospel for the glory of God.
Christian Professional women can be channels in reaching and inspiring women in workplaces everywhere to know the love of Christ and grow in grace and the knowledge of God. Furthermore, make them aware of the spiritual and professional role they can play among non-Christian peers in the marketplace.
There are several challenges and barriers that women face in the workplace. Some of the common issues that are to be addressed are: to have a voice and be heard at the table where important decisions are made. In many instances women face discrimination at work place. As business women or as leaders in ministries in the local or global marketplace, doubt can creep in from time to time, especially if things are not going as planned.
As busy women, who on the go, are stressed and in some cases may lead to health problems. They may be tired of not getting their needs met by the bottom-line business world, who may not value your beliefs, etc. This is where the Christian Professional women may step in and help them to overcome these circumstances through God’s Word, prayer and encouragement. Inspire women to live out God’s purposes in their lives, both professionally and personally.
The Sphere of Influence beyond the Workplace: Contributions to the Society
The influence of Christian professional women can be far-reaching beyond their workplace. For example, many missionary nurses such as Mother Teresa and Emma Cushman have worked tirelessly, bringing hygiene and Western medicine to the four corners of the globe.
Christian professional women can raise the social status of the weak, sick and handicapped, love and care for them. The poor are without a voice for their cry is not heard by the powerful and influential in the society. This is where one can step in and be a voice for the voiceless, help in promoting increased standards of care, and in immunology, public health and preventative medicine where needed. This in turn will improve the quality of life for countless millions of people. These in turn will open doors to the gospel which will give men and women a new perspective and allegiance to the true and the living God. 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:40)
One must not stop there, but move forward. In India there are millions suffering without any one to take care and provide a meaningful life for them. Women of influence and power have immense opportunity to step in and make a difference in their lives.
Identify the Social Needs
Poverty, Illiteracy, Slums, Misfits of society -alcoholics, criminals, prostitutes, homeless, etc., medical care, homes for women and children, unwed mothers, child labor, handicapped, elderly who are neglected and despised by their children, provide a peaceful atmosphere as possible for those in terminal illness, while offering an environment of Christian love and support, etc.
One cannot do this alone but by connecting with other professional Christian women, who have similar passion and vision can do exploits for God’s kingdom. Work towards building lasting and supportive relationships. Connect with other like-minded Christian women with whom you can work among the poor and the marginalized in their struggle for a better life.
Motivate and mobilize Christian doctors and nurses to be at the forefront of efforts to alleviate human suffering, cure disease, and advance knowledge and understanding. Encourage them to be a witness of grace within cultural, economic and political life of the people. Focus on educational and social work among the poor, particularly the women, the sick and the dying.
Examples of Woman who made a Difference in the Society
In the United States:
It was women who formed the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833.
Harriet Tubman, a Christian who escaped slavery, went on to lead an influential movement within the Underground Railroad.
Methodist Frances Willard led two million members worldwide in the temperance movement more than a century ago, influencing many to support women's suffrage as a "weapon of protection to her home and tempted loved ones from the tyranny of drink."
The movement also started kindergartens, passed child labor laws, and in the 1870s created the first daycares for the children of working women.
In the 1940s and '50s, Henrietta Mears, a dynamic Christian educator, shaped the church's future in powerful ways, discipling a number of future evangelical leaders, including Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.
Today evangelicalism continues to feel the effects of women's leadership.
Women writers have played a particularly important role in evangelicalism. Rosalind Rinker's Prayer: Conversing with God changed the way evangelicals prayed together. Before Rinker, many believed that prayer should be in the King's English, spoken formally, as if addressing a monarch. The idea that Christians could talk to God as a friend, conversationally, was Rinker's radical idea that is now commonplace.
These women who have gone before us are a great inspiration for the women of the 21st century to accomplish great things for God.
Christian Professional Women can be Change Agents in the Society
Christian Professional Women in key positions have the responsibility to empower women from lesser strata of society, economic status and create an awareness of their potential to rise above their situations. Champion the cause of the oppressed and downtrodden and against the atrocities committed against women, children and the helpless. Advocate for female business owners and poor women alike; aid in connecting the poor and economically backward women-with skills to offer to start their own enterprises and connect them with corporate companies and high level decision-makers. This will enhance their business and the net profit avoiding exploitation. There are many who are without employment, in such cases, the Christian professional women can open vocational training and manufacturing centers to teach the skills necessary for women to be able to support themselves and their families and give them a place to work. Women who recognize their dignity go beyond the narrow limits of protecting their own life, family and community to protecting and exerting influence to the world at large. If we look further, there are thousands of children who are neglected, exploited through child labor; rag pickers, children without hope for a bright future.
Christian Professional women can raise funds to build safe havens for these children. They can help to facilitate the release of wealth in the marketplace for Kingdom purposes and raise up servant leaders to impact the marketplace and the world with a Kingdom perspective!There is a famous saying by the Brigham Young that, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”