This week's Telegraph ran an article: The Women who Made a Difference. It focussed on five women who have made their mark on the world in very different ways, and as such were named Women of the Year 2006. One winner is quoted as saying: "I have a lot of respect for these awards because they recognise ordinary people who do extraordinary things, and they're one of the best for recognising what's really important."
While these women are no doubt worthy of their accolades, I would suggest that ordinary Christian women, past and present, have also made extraordinary contributions, leaving their mark on the world. None more important are those women in the bible who God chose to use in the unfolding of redemptive history. I've been reading about these women in Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to do With You, by John MacArthur.
These twelve women were ordinary in one sense, but extraordinary in another. MacArthur writes: "Most of them were unremarkable in and of themselves. They were ordinary, common, and in some cases shockingly low-caste women... All these women became extrordinary not because of any natural qualities of their own, but because the one true God whom they worshipped is great, mighty, glorious, and awesome, and He refined them like silver....They therefore stand as reminders of our fallenness and our potential."
What is even more remarkable in reading this book is how it presents, and rightly so, the way in which the bible exalts women, contrary to many who say otherwise. MacArthur says: "Far from ever demeaning or belittling women, Scripture often seems to go out of the way to pay homage to them, to ennoble their roles in society and family, to acknowledge the importance of their influence, and to exalt the virtues of women who were particularly godly examples."
May we also seek to make a difference in our world, not just with natural qualities and abilities, but with the potential that God alone can bring to fruition in our lives. And let us not forget that it is in our different-ness, as women, that those around us can see what is really important.