The AMI QT blogs for January (weekdays), provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, are extended to cover important sociopolitical matters that have serious ramifications for the Christian faith. Pastor Ryun (PhD), who serves as the Teaching Pastor of AMI, is the author of Manual de Misionología, Theologizing in the Racial Middle, and a contributor to The Reshaping of Mission in Latin America.
Disclaimer: AMI, as a consortium of several churches, allows the expression of multiple standpoints on non-essential biblical matters. My views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors. I am also mindful that not every reader will agree with my stances on sensitive and contentious issues addressed in this month’s blogs. Where that may be the case, I invite you to utilize the comment section below, so that we may have an open dialogue; I highly encourage all readers to share their thoughts and experiences. Thank you.
Extended Devotional Thoughts for Today
“‘Marriage Still Ain’t Equal’ but for a Different Reason Than Mrs. Obama’s”
2 Timothy 1:5
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
As alluded yesterday, Michelle Obama is convinced that “women can’t experience equality in both their professional and personal lives ‘at the same time.’” Calling the idea a ‘lie,’ she quipped, “Marriage still ain’t equal.” She is right, of course, since women still juggle work and family way more than men. The mothers are the ones taking the maternity leave—not the fathers. And no matter how good the maternal package is, not working for months is opportunities lost or delayed for acquiring skills, experiences and networking conducive for upward mobility in the workplace. Nevertheless, I disagree with Mrs. Obama’s belief that marriage isn’t equal because it is skewed toward women. How? Inasmuch as her concerns are legitimate, they are still delimited to “this world . . . [that] is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31a); to be precise, her viewpoint is secular in nature. But when marriage is viewed through the lens of “the age to come, eternal life” (Lk. 18:30b NIV), we see that marriage isn’t equal because it is actually skewed toward men.
How so? The Bible teaches that while salvation is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9), rewards in heaven are based on good deeds performed on earth (Matt. 10:40-42). And one good deed the Scripture specifically mentions for women is “bringing up children” (1 Tim. 5:10). That, of course, doesn’t preclude the parental role of fathers (more as a disciplinarian—Heb. 12:7); but having said that, I want to underscore a very important role in a child’s life that more mothers play than fathers.
Let me explain this by way of introducing a dear relative of mine who, in the eyes of Korean mothers, was a stunning success. Besides becoming very wealthy through working hard almost every day in business, one of her sons is a doctor and the other a lawyer. But once her faith in Christ became real in her middle age, she recognized the spiritual poverty of her sons who didn’t walk with the Lord and greatly regretted how God wasn’t part of their upbringing because, frankly, she neglected to include Him. As my dear relative was dying of cancer 11 years ago (still in her prime), she was in great agony because she was uncertain of her sons’ eternal destiny.
My point is this: Most children first hear about God from their believing mothers; in fact, their first exposure to discipleship is with their mothers as well. A rabbi, in speaking about his mother, says: “A traditional woman, she saw it as her responsibility that her . . . sons regularly attend Sabbath and holiday worship services, and observe . . . common Jewish rituals, etc.. . . While there were many important Jewish influences in my life, there is no doubt my mother was the primary one.” Thus, a Yiddish Proverb says, “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.” One of them was Eunice, the mother of Pastor Timothy, who, by the way, couldn’t have been highly regarded among the Jews in her days, for she married a gentile and failed to circumcise Timothy (Acts 16:1-3)—both a taboo in the Jewish world.
Nevertheless, my late-relative, with all of her success, might have gladly traded places with Eunice. Why? Because Eunice did something my relative wished she could have: helping her son to have a sincere faith in God. Listen to what the apostle Paul says to Timothy about the influence his mother had on him: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in . . . your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Tim. 1:5). If you are a parent, then you already know that our children are not easily impressed with the faith of their parents (because they see too much at home); but not Timothy—he imitated his mother’s faith.
This, of course, means nothing to the people of the world, but it should mean everything to the believing mothers. Yes, “marriage still ain’t equal,” since the mothers are privileged to have the first crack at shaping the eternal destiny of our children. And they will be rewarded for a job well done. This is indeed a high calling of God for our mothers.
You will never hear that from the trifecta of our leading institutions—the academia, media and Hollywood—because they are profoundly secular in orientation; for them, this material world is all there is; there is nothing else. Well, they are all wrong—it’s fake news. There will come a day when “the world and its desires [will] pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 Jn. 2:17). Let’s not forget that!
Prayer: Dear Lord, we men are so insensitive to the many challenges facing modern women. We make promises to our wives that we will help out with housework, but we end up doing something else, like playing video game! We repent. Help us, God, to be real men! Amen
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 9
Tomorrow’s Blog: “Beware of the Two Maxims of Modern Feminism”
Lunch Break Study
Gloria Steinem, once the most glamorous face of modern feminism, said, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” After making that statement, Steinem began a relationship with a billionaire that lasted for 4 years; when that relationship ended, she married someone else.
Read 1 Corinthians 7:29, 32:
“This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none . . . I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man [woman] is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.”
“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
“So do and observe whatever they [the Pharisees] tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.”
Questions to Consider
- While I am not quite sure what Steinem really meant in her quote (any man or just chauvinistic man or predators like Weinstein or Lauer?), but in what sense can a man be a distraction to a believing woman?
- Imagine that Steinem and Anna got into a conversation. What would Anna say to Steinem?
- Ultimately, what error did Steinem make, an error that all teachers have made?
- A man or a woman can easily be a distraction to one’s undivided devotion to the Lord, if we allow our devotion and desire for a person to overshadow our time spent with and service unto and thinking about the Lord.
- “Gloria, you are right, a woman doesn’t need a man for the things only God can give: unconditional and permanent love and acceptance. That’s what He promised in Christ. Upon seeing the baby Jesus at the temple, I thanked God for the consummation of that promise.”
- I am happy that she found the love of her life and married him. But I hope no impressionable young women took her statement and made it her motto. Steinem’s mistake is the same as that of the Pharisees: “For they preach, but do not practice.” I am guilty of that as well.
Did you have another long and hard day at the office and/or home? Are you tired? Exhausted? Here is a comforting passage for the weary:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
Play a quite praise music in the background. Keep still and rest in the Lord. He is good. He can be trusted. He loves you.