In the church today, gender remains one of the struggles many churches have concerning women doing ministry. In more conservative churches, women are not allowed to hold leadership positions such as elder or even be a pastor on staff. Some churches have incorporated female leaders in advisory capacities, but they cannot hold an official position in senior leadership. You have leaders on both sides of this issue, with other churches having female elders and pastors.
So, it got me thinking about the opposite sex. I sat in church one morning before the service and penned the following thoughts:
"My wife is the other side of me." Then beneath these words, I put these bullet points underscoring what that meant:
· My wife is the other side of my brain
· My wife is the other side of my opinion
· My wife is the other side of my emotions
· My wife is the other side of my perspective
· My wife is the other side of my body
I realized at that point, that as a married man, I have a wife who completes me in all of these areas. There are very few things I don’t consult with my wife about, in fact, most of the time she helps me with my decisions. And, of course, at times we disagree. That disagreement can even be intense, but at the end of the day, I realize that our disagreement is about clarifying the issue so a better decision can be made. I do have strong opinions on all kinds of issues, and I have come to appreciate the opinion of my wife because she thinks differently than I do. Her opinion is often what convinces me to back off from my intensity and move to a more moderate position. As I analyzed the role we play in each other's lives, it was clear to me how she is the other side of me in all respects of our life together. Scripture says this is what marriage is defined as … it is finding that person who can complete us in making life work here on earth:
Genesis 2:24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
As one we complete each other … she is the other side of who I am, and I am the other side of who she is. God brings pieces together to make a whole. This is true in everything God does. He brings the many parts of His Bride, the Church, together to make a whole. The Church has many gifts and together He unifies us in Himself and makes us part of each other. We belong to each other; in other words, we complete each other:
Romans 12:5 So, it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
As in marriage, we are the other side of each other in the church. God makes us to fit with others, to complete His Body on earth which is His Bride. These gifts coming together is how we serve one another and become a living example of His Kingdom on earth. This means we all become the other side for others by fulfilling a role and a place in the body by serving others:
1 Peter 4 10God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
These gifts were not given only to men or to women, to Jews or to Gentiles … they were given to His Church. That means we all have a gift to use. Yet, the divisions we experience in the church often happen over how these gifts are used and which gender gets to use them. Gifts are given not to be restricted, but to be used. Our churches are often confused over the female gender not being able to use her gifts in the church if men are present. Yet, we have female ministers on the radio, television, and Internet who are speaking and using their gifts freely to anyone … even men … who may be listening. If the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost poured out His Spirit for sons and daughters to prophecy, then we need to honor His outpouring. I believe Paul’s restrictions of women teaching men in 1 Timothy has a different application than it does in deploying a Spiritual gift as it is spoken of here in 1 Peter and Acts 2. We need to allow God’s servants in the body … men or women … to use what God has given to them to bring us closer to God and to each other.
Don’t quench what God gives. Rather, freely allow the body to be the body to strengthen the other side of each other to find completion in Him.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler