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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Ministering Women—Luke 8:2-3

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MINISTERING WOMEN.


The Lord Jesus "went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with Him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna and many others, which ministered unto Him of their substance."

There are many people who think that distinctly spiritual service for the Master is of a higher order than ministering in temporal matters, yet, surely, it would never have been noticed in the Word of God that certain women ministered to Jesus of their substance if He had not thought it worth recording! These women had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, and in the same spirit as the one leper who returned to give glory to God, these women

DEVOTED THEIR LIVES

and their substance to Him who had healed them. We do not read in any part of the history of Jesus's life that any men who had been healed followed Him. There was one exception; the man out of whom the legion was cast prayed Him that He might be with Him, but Jesus would not suffer it; He sent him as a witness to his friends of the great things which God had done for him, and had had mercy on him. (Mar 5:19.)

The women who followed Jesus were of divers orders and position of society. There was Mary Magdalene, supposed to be the type of a fallen woman, for Christ had cast out of her seven devils. (Mar 16:9.) But there was also Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, a woman of high position, and, probably, considerable wealth, and who, perhaps, followed Jesus at a great cost, the loss of all her position and prestige, and also of old acquaintances and friends. There was Susanna, whom we do not hear of afterwards, "and many others." It is more than probable that they carried their tents with them, and in the many ways in which women can make life comfortable, they would care for the wants of Jesus and His disciples, washing and mending their clothes, cooking their food, running errands for them, and in every way making themselves useful.

A consecrated woman, to whom God has given no other special gift, may be a precious help to the Church of God in saving the time of evangelists-men and women-by relieving them of those temporal cares; and who should say that this service to Christ is of little account? "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." (Luk 16:10.) The Shunammite was no mean servant of God when she cared for Elisha. The women who ministered to Paul were highly recommended by him. There was Mary, "who bestowed much labour on us" (Rom 16:6); and there was the Philippian woman, Lydia, who was the first European woman that offered hospitality to Paul (Act 6:14-15), and so set the example in the infant church of Philippi, that that church took the lead in caring for this precious Apostle and servant of God. Paul wrote to them: "Ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving but ye only. For even in Thessalonica, ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all and abound; I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well‐pleasing to God." So highly does Paul speak of the ministering women who thought of his needs, and so pleased God.

In the life of an itinerant evangelist, there are often many trials. An uncomfortable lodging is one of these. Very frequently an evangelist is placed in a room where it is impossible to sleep because of the uncleanliness of the place, infested often with vermin. A ministering woman will always take care how the evangelist is lodged. True children of God care little what they eat or drink, or what kind of furniture they have, or whether the bed is hard or soft which they sleep on; but cleanliness when it is possible, as in England, becomes a necessity to one who lives near to God. Another, a great necessity, is quiet. No true evangelist can go to preach except he has received from his Master the message he is going to deliver, and every true ministering woman will do her utmost to find

SOME QUIET CORNER

where an evangelist whom she entertains can be alone; a garret full of boxes would be preferable to a true child of God, if he could have it alone, than ever so comfortable a chamber where voices and the presence of other people were disturbing him. A true ministering woman, when she receives an evangelist into her house, will not try to make a show of all the comforts or the luxuries she has. The man of God is not of this world, and she will think rather of what he would like, than of making a show of what she has. The Shunammite was one of God's angel ministers; there was no extravagance in her furnishing of Elisha's little room; a bed, a table, a candlestick (2Ki 4:10), and it was done. (In our days the wash‐hand‐stand would be a necessary addition.)

But the ministering women do not live for evangelists only. There is a quiet ministry of prayer and of attention which they may give in the name of the Lord to all the members of their households, looking upon the smallest duty as done unto the Lord, and every self‐denial as borne for Him. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." (Mat 25:40.) "Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My Name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." A ministering woman brings God near to everyone with whom she comes in contact. Everyone is helped or reproved by her life; wherever she is she leaves her mark for God.

Every woman is either a selfish woman or a ministering woman, but there are some whose ministry is selfish: only to get favour to themselves. There are others who minister distinctly "in the Lord," and, therefore, they have no choice as to whom they shall minister. Taking everything from the Lord, they see God in everything. It is no light vocation to minister thus to Him who "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mar 10:45.)

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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