I found myself with an unlikely role during Sunday school; teaching the Women’s Sunday school class. A perfect storm of factors put this pastor into a place he never imagined in his Sunday preparation. However, it was great place to be. It made me stop and think about how the ladies of our church would think through the lesson we were studying on “Kingdom Proclamation” from Acts 4. One of the key points of the “Gospel Project” lesson was the importance of proclaiming the good news of the gospel. However, proclamation is more than four points and a prayer. The “resurrection message [is] more than just a presentation...It is through our presence among the lost and lonely and lame - our drawing near to others - that those yearning for life will be most receptive to the presentation of the message about God’s kingdom.", We often think that the proclamation of the gospel is exclusively done through well crafted sermons, rhetorical wit, or a breath-taking barrage of biblical quotations mixed with pin-point alliteration. Often the most powerful proclamation of the gospel is everyday faithfulness motivated by a love and trust in the gospel. The gospel is magnified when a mother gives of herself to selflessly love, care, and nurture her children in the anonymity of her home. The gospel is boldly proclaimed when a woman, motivated by a love for Christ, faithfully honors and cares for her elderly parents despite little fanfare and even less gratitude. The gospel is proclaimed when a woman chooses to work with integrity, discipline, and hard work rather than compromise herself to move up the corporate ladder. The gospel is not a pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all entity to be hawked in the marketplace. The gospel is a transforming biblical worldview that says my worth is not found in my work, my image, or my abilities but in the completed work of Jesus Christ on my cross. Keith and Kristyn Getty capsulate it so well in the lines of their song, “My Worth is Not in What I Own”. They write, “My worth is not in what I own. Not in the strength of flesh and bone. But in the costly wounds of love, at the cross. ~ My worth is not in skill or name, In win or lose, in pride or shame. But in the blood of Christ that flowed, at the cross.” How often do women find their significance in their own abilities, beauty, or intellect rather than in the completed work of Christ? In fact, both both men and women, spend their entire lives trying to prove their worth to someone, or to themselves, only to find at the end of the day that task is impossible. No accomplishment, education, publication, creation, or image can satisfy the restless human heart. In our hearts we realize that we are not perfect and are flawed by sin. Yet we try to compensate by earning more, achieving higher, or possessing beauty rather than in the promise of the gospel. The gospel declares that the completed work of Christ on the cross brings us into a harmonious relationship with the Almighty God of creation and peace with our own self (Romans 8:1). We do not need to strive any longer to prove that we belong. The work is completed. The price paid. The debt cancelled. The gospel promises we have worth because of Jesus. Therefore, a woman can freely love her husband, children, parents, neighbors, and co-workers without the pressure to prove her worth. Her worth is unquestioned because she is a child of God (Ephesians 1:3-14), redeemed for relationship (Col 1:3-14), and held in His almighty hand. No one can pluck a daughter of God from his hand (John 10:28). Therefore, a woman (and us guys too) can work, love, play, and create knowing that she is secure because of the completed work of Christ at the cross. Success, beauty, and creativity don’t add value to her; while shortcomings, failures, and inabilities don’t threaten her standing because of the cross. The Getty’s finish their song with the priceless words, “Two wonders here that I confess, My worth and my unworthiness, My value fixed - my ransom paid, At the cross”. The gospel frees women to go into her world and live, love, and laugh knowing that her worth is in the completed work of the cross. This is empowerment and it gives all Christians the motivation to proclaim the gospel in our words AND our lifestyle.
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