{PASTORS WEEK} “You Should Know…”

Written by: Dr. Brad Estep

​There are three women in my life — my wife, my daughter, and my mother. They each occupy a different stage in their growth and maturity. One is navigating the teenage years. One is helping her to navigate those years while also working a full-time job, helping to raise a teenage son, and sharing life with her pastor-husband. My mother, on the other hand, is sharing retirement with her husband of 50+ years in a beach-side community in Florida. Regardless of their stage in life, I want each of them to be reminded from time to time of three biblical basics:

1) Jesus comes to forgive and free…not to condemn and bind.
In John 8, there is this amazing story that involves Jesus and an adulterous woman. This unnamed woman is caught in a first-century crime that is punishable by stoning. She is defenseless and vulnerable, but then Jesus arrives on the scene. He doesn’t ride in like a knight in shining armor, but it almost feels that way. He comes with wisdom, grace, and forgiveness. He confronts the accusers and silences them with the call to “look into the mirror”…to conduct self-examination. As the stones thud on the ground having been released from the hands of her accusers, Jesus releases her from the sins of her past with the announcement that he does not condemn her. Simultaneously, he calls her to a different way of living into the future – “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Forgiveness is not only freedom from something…like the past, like regrets, like failures, like humiliating and haunting actions…but it’s freedom for something. It’s freedom for new life, new beginnings, and new depths of devotion to Christ and his cause in the world.

2) Jesus is primarily interested in your relationship with him.
In Luke 10 there is a story about a family that involves two women. They are the sisters of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus. Their names are Mary and Martha. When Jesus came to visit, Martha was consumed by the logistics of getting ready and making preparation. Things have to be done. Food prepared. House made ready. Whatever was involved in welcoming a guest in the first century – Martha felt the burden of it. Her sister, Mary, on the other hand was sitting at Jesus’ feet “listening to what he said.” Eventually it reached a boiling point and Martha complained to Jesus: “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!
Can’t you just sense Martha’s frustration? If you’ve ever been peeling potatoes while everybody else is enjoying each other’s company, it’s not hard to understand her feelings, is it? But it’s the response of Jesus that surprises us: “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Wow! Jesus doesn’t try to “ride the fence” or “check to see which way the wind is blowing” or “poll the opinion of the masses.” Jesus says: “If you have to choose, time with me is better than busy-ness doing helpful and beneficial things.” I want the women in my life to know that the time that they spend cultivating their relationship with Jesus is more important than being “productive.”

3) Jesus knows that women have incredible potential for influence.
Another story that involves a woman is found in John 4. She, too, like the woman in John 8 is unnamed. Often, she’s simply referred to as the “Samaritan woman”…or the “woman at the well.” There are multiple lessons in this densely packed story, but I simply want to point out what happens in the end: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in [Jesus] because of the woman’s testimony.” She had met Jesus at the town well and the result was a changed life. But that wasn’t the only result. She became an “influencer” for Christ.

​These three episodes from John and Luke that all involve women as primary characters are important stories. Their lessons are certainly not restricted to women, but they are clearly applicable to women…and if the three women in my life would know and practice these things [as I believe they do], my life and the lives of so many others will be blessed “from generation to generation.”

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About Dr. Brad:
Brad has been married to Dawn for 26 years. He is father to Chris [18] and Katherine [16]. He has served as a local church pastor since the Sunday after Easter in 1993. In his spare time, he reads history and plays golf.

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