The Tale Of Two Women

The Tale Of Two Women

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Brent Pollard

“O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.” (1 Samuel 1.11 NASB1995) 

These are Hannah’s words uttered approximately 3,100 years ago. Barren, she cried to the Lord for a son. Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, loved her dearly. But Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, would oppress Hannah because she had born children for Elkanah while Hannah had not. Moreover, Peninnah was jealous of Hannah because she knew Elkanah loved Hannah more despite her barrenness.  

The priest, Eli, mistook Hannah for a drunkard and rebuked her. Hannah assured Eli she was not drunk but earnest in her pleas to the Lord. She said she was pouring out her soul before the Lord. Eli told her to depart in peace, that the Lord would grant her petition. And Hannah went her way, no longer sorrowful but filled with faith. 

In a short time, Hannah became pregnant and bore Samuel, so named because the boy resulted from the request she made of the Lord. True to her vow, Hannah took her son Samuel to the Tabernacle in Shiloh after weaning him. He would be given to Eli to live his life in service to God.  

Fast forward now to the twenty-first century. A worldly woman stumbles upon an article written by Politico. She laments when she hears about a leak from the Supreme Court regarding a possible decision about Mississippi’s abortion law banning abortion after fifteen weeks. The leaked document suggests that the Supreme Court upholds the abortion restriction and overturns the precedents of both Roe and Casey

“They are overturning Roe,” she screams. “How can they do that? Abortion is my right! Why do these politicians, these men, think they can tell me what I can do with my body? How can they intrude on my liberty?” The woman, whose name is unknown to us, calls her Representative and her Senator voicing her displeasure. “It is time to pack the Supreme Court! Limit the tenures of the Justices! The Supreme Court should not hold so much power.” She confers with her like-minded friends, some of whom are biological men who self-identify as women, and goes to the park to protest even though there has been no official pronouncement. Yet, the rumor of this decision has aroused her ire, and she will not rest until obtaining her justice.     

I cannot help but think of all of the world’s Hannahs when I turn on the news and watch recent events. Though I wish that this was abortion’s end, I know not to get my hopes up. The second woman marching in the streets has nothing she must worry about. If the leak is accurate, the Supreme Court is only giving the power regarding abortion back to the States and the people. Nothing more. It seems evident that those States expanding abortion to the third trimester, like New York, will not be limiting the procedure. And I can foresee a booming “abortion tourism” conveying those poor, subjugated women in “backward States” to bastions of “progressiveness,” where doctors will kill the unborn infants even a day before they would otherwise be born.  

Meanwhile, hundreds of Hannahs cry out to God for just one child. One child to love, nurture, and give back to God. There are hundreds of Hannahs filled with natural affection, but who will never have that opportunity to extend those deep-seated feelings because of disease or circumstance. I grieve because hundreds of Hannahs are barren, while the unnamed woman can slaughter a perfectly healthy child growing in her womb in the name of her so-called healthcare and feel no guilt.  

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, not “womb-possessing person’s day.” It is a day to celebrate the women who stepped up and made a lasting difference. I am thankful to God for having my own Hannah. She reared my siblings and me to love the Lord and serve Him during all the days of our lives. Moreover, she is our embodiment of King Lemuel’s mother (cf. Proverbs 31). We call her blessed! It may be that you feel the same for your mother too. If so, rejoice and celebrate her godly influence. 

According to UN statistics, we live in a world comprised of roughly 49.6 percent females. So, undoubtedly, you will encounter at least one woman today. I hope she is like Hannah and not the alternative. But even if she is not, love her with the kind of love modeled before you by your own Hannah. Pray that God will soften her heart and open her eyes so that she may see the truth about His wondrous creation, no matter how small (Psalm 139.13-16).  

The Parable of the Lost Coin

The Parable of the Lost Coin

Friday’s Column: Learning From Lehman

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Kason Eubanks

A little boy was riding his bike in the cemetery while his mother ran.  Obviously this mother isn’t very bright because who in the world runs in a cemetery surrounded by dead bodies.  Anyway, this boy rode his bike along the path and eventually could not find his mother.   After looking and calling for her, he became frantic.   His mother was also frantic at the far end of the cemetery. She picked up her pace and ran to retrace her steps. The further she ran the more frantic she became. Almost in tears she saw no sign of the little boy. She ran to the gate leading out of the cemetery. And that is where the little boy was. The boy was very young and I don’t know a lot about this story but what I do know is that I have a lifelong fear of cemeteries.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

We read about a woman in Luke 15:8.  It states, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’  Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” This woman in the parable of the lost coin lit a lamp.  She uses the light to see. She knows the light is what she should follow to find the coin.  She also swept the WHOLE house.  She uses her physical energy to find the coin.  She doesn’t wait for the coin to just reappear; she puts effort into looking for it, and she receives her reward by finding the coin.  She spends time rejoicing with her neighbors.

If you lost a coin, would you search your whole house? Would you turn your house upside down just to find one coin? If I lost a coin I would not care one bit about that one coin that I lost. Matter of fact, I have lost a bunch of coins and I have never swept the house just to find them.  

It may be that you haven’t searched for God so you can have a home in heaven in the end, and maybe it is that you want to fix that issue. Or maybe you need to get your life on track. Whatever your need may be, do not remain lost! 

“It’s Not About Me” In 1 Peter 3

“It’s Not About Me” In 1 Peter 3

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary III

Gary Pollard

 
We’re going through I Peter in the college class at Lehman Avenue and we most recently studied part of chapter three. This chapter further discusses the theme of submission (giving up our power willingly to another) frequently appearing throughout the book. Christians are essentially told, “It’s not about me,” that we should get rid of certain behaviors, and an explanation for why we give up certain behaviors or power is given.
 
For example, we should get rid of hatred, taking advantage of others, hypocrisy, jealousy, and character assassination (2.1), because we know that God has shown us mercy (2.9, 10). That’s hard. We should listen to our government, even when we disagree with them (as long as it doesn’t violate God’s word), because God uses them to maintain some semblance of law and order (2.13-17). That’s hard. We should be good employees, even when our bosses aren’t fair, because Christ suffered, too, and God looks at us favorably when we suffer for doing the right thing (2.18ff). That’s hard.
 
In the same way – that is, keeping with the theme of surrendering our own power and doing something difficult for the sake of goodness – Peter addresses women and men specifically in chapter three.
 
This is an interesting study because it sheds light on a controversial topic: wives being submissive to their husbands. Let’s look at the text:
 
  • Γυναίκες (wives/women): Submit to ιδιοις (your own) husbands. Not all men, just husbands. Peter is not saying that women are inferior and should submit for that reason.
  • Ινα (in order that): For the purpose of cultivating godliness and influencing a fallen husband. It’s not for the purpose of manifesting inferiority, but to influence a lost husband! This involves a difficult task – as in 2.18 – which demonstrates the power of the word.
  • Δια (through/by): γυναικών αναστροφής (womanly or “wifely” conduct). Through her submission to her husband and through an emphasis on timeless inner beauty, she can save his soul. “Men and women have different ways of expressing godliness. Peter is showing how women can powerfully influence their husbands, which is by submitting to them” (Edwin Jones).
 
This sensitive topic is nonetheless a powerful one. Wives are not told to submit because it’s “just what women should do,” or because of a belief that women are somehow inferior, but are told to submit because it can save souls. Men are told to assign value to their wives and to be respectful and considerate with them if they want to be right with God (3.7), followed by a general set of commands for all Christians to act a certain way for the sake of godliness (3.8ff).
 
We submit and suffer as Christians to save souls and to remember that, “It’s not about me.”
(Gary teaching 1 Peter in the college class at Lehman Avenue)
WHAT I SAW WHEN A SISTER SERVED

WHAT I SAW WHEN A SISTER SERVED

Neal Pollard

It was such a joy to accompany the BVBII students on campaign to Greensboro, Georgia.  Chuck Ramseur, one of our graduates, is doing a great job with Brianna and their four children, and the church was so warm and hospitable.  Yet, one of the things I’ll remember the most from this trip was the continual service displayed by Bonnie Saldana. Her husband, Mario, is a freshman and we had the same host family.  Throughout the week, Bonnie would jump up and clear the dishes from the table and clean the kitchen.  Our hosts, Dean and Karen, would urge her to sit down, but you could tell how much they truly appreciated it.  She made no fanfare about it, but quietly and diligently worked.

Mario is a joy to be around, but his wife’s willingness to jump in and get involved will help raise his “stock” when he graduates and looks for a place to preach.  Increasingly, I have seen women married to preachers who, in apparent protest at the thought of being part of a “package deal,” do little if anything to be involved (clean up, teach classes, otherwise volunteer, etc.) in the local church.  This sends a powerfully clear message to the other ladies (and men) in the congregation.  Rather than greatness, it shows gross selfishness.

Jesus proclaimed service as the way heaven esteems greatness (cf. Mat. 20:26-28). I wonder how He feels when He sees those unaware and unwilling to look around and assist where work is to be done.  The particulars of the problem are not given at Philippi between the divided women, Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2), but an overarching solution to “church trouble” is to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).

What is to be eliminated? (1) Selfishness (Louw/Nida—“What they do is just for themselves,” 88.167), (2) Empty conceit (“A state of pride which is without justification,” ibid.), (3) Personal interests (A selfish preoccupation with with one’s own affairs, O’Brien, NIGTC, np).  What is encouraged? (1) Humility of mind, (2) Higher regard for others, (3) Looking out for the interests of others. Apply this to cleaning up after fellowship activities, babysitting, helping with workdays, providing transportation, practicing hospitality, listening to others’ ideas and input, doing security, greeting visitors, providing meals for those in need, visiting the hospitals and nursing homes, taking an interest in the youth through the elderly, teaching a class, nurturing a new Christian, and using your training and talents however you can to help the church grow.

There are many Christian women and men out there like Bonnie.  May each of us look at examples like these and eagerly imitate them.  In noticing them, we are following heaven’s example.  In following them, we are following heaven’s advice.

Bonnie is pictured (far left) in this picture of the BVBII campaign group in Georgia.