This blog post was originally featured on Rising Tswana.
You can listen to this devotional on the audio below, if you prefer that to reading. Feel free to download and share with your loved ones also:
Just before my 26th birthday, people started to nudge me about “the next stage in life” (i.e. marriage and children), implying that this would be my ultimate stamp of womanhood. The problem? I had my reservations. Why? Well, I guess this is what happens when you grow up seeing most of your female role-models sell themselves short or stay in abusive situations due to factors such as tradition, control and low self-worth.
You see, as much as my elders loved me and invested me with great skills and values, I didn’t have any older women (in my immediate circle) that I really looked at and felt that I wanted to be like, or have a relationship similar to. I knew this to be true of most of the people in my social circle too; yet I saw many women of my age group taking up the mantle of our fore-runners and repeating their history.
And that’s how I came to my crossroads…
I didn’t want to conform to social norms, building my future on the opinions of men and repeating their histories (as I’d seen others do). I wanted to become the woman God had ordained me to be; so, I became really interested in comparing these notions to what the Bible had to say about topics such as women, womanhood and my purpose as one.
I literally decided to go through the Bible looking at each woman and the spiritual truths we can garner from their stories, which is what started my passion for the women of the Bible (but especially Eve). My book, “The Ultimate Guide to Eve,” is basically a collation of my findings. Here is an excerpt on what Eve teaches us about the fact that we are called to rule:
The first command that God ever gave man can be found in Genesis 1:28 and says:
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’”
However, it also ties in with another spiritual truth:
Contrary to many cultural and religious beliefs, including my own, one of the mandates of the original woman (and therefore women at large) was to rule with men. To reiterate the afore-mentioned scripture, it begins:
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’” (Italics added for emphasis)
The directives that follow (“fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth”) show that this scripture is not purely about reproduction, but stewardship.
We see the principle of stewardship in action via a passage in Matthew 25:14-30, most commonly known as “The Parable of the Talents”. In this piece of scripture Jesus is teaching on the Kingdom of God and is using this parable to illustrate it. To summarise, He says that the Kingdom of God can be likened to a wealthy man who gathers his three servants together before travelling to a far country.
During this meeting he gives them instructions regarding what they are responsible for while he is away. Each of them is also given a portion of his wealth to look after in the form of talents (or money). One servant gets five talents (Servant A); one gets two (Servant B) and the other, one (Servant C). Cutting a long story short, the wealthy man goes away and eventually comes back. As one might expect, he then calls the servants together again to see what became of the possessions that he placed in their hands…
Servant A is able to present him with ten talents as he went and traded with the five talents that he was originally given. Servant B is able to present him with four talents as he went out and did the same. Both of these servants are highly commended by their master and rightly so! They had proven themselves faithful over small things which meant they could therefore be made responsible for more. Servant C, on the other hand, presents his master with the same coin that he was entrusted with, leading to a verbal onslaught (“being cursed out,” as the slang term goes) and then punished. He was also called good-for-nothing (“an unprofitable servant”), made to give the one coin that he had to Servant A and promptly cast into “the outer darkness” where there was not only “weeping” but “gnashing of teeth!”
Sounds harsh, right? However Jesus was not just giving an example of the Kingdom of God through this parable, He was teaching several principles. My book actually details 7 but, for the sake of space and time, I’ll give you 3 of those principles now:
Principle #1: We, as mankind, are stewards
If we cross reference Matthew 25:14-30 with Genesis 1:28, parallels between the two can be established. Namely that God acted just as the wealthy man in the Parable of the Talents did (at the dawn of creation) by creating a great wealth of things, which He initially managed, before employing us as mankind to take over His responsibilities. It is in this way that both men and women are able to have dominion (the right to control, govern or rule). Therefore, like the servants in Matthew 25, we are stewards (but of the world).
Principle #2: We are also stewards over our individual worlds; not just the world at large
Growing up within a Nigerian household, there was always an expectation (and pressure!) to be successful. Yet that imagery was and still is very prescriptive for most people of my parent’s generation. It basically encompasses completing “school” through to university (preferably to the point of obtaining a masters- better yet, a doctorate!), getting a (high paying) job, getting married and giving one’s parents grandchildren to “bounce on their knee”. Add material possessions, such as a big house and fancy car, into the mix and there you have the very image of success (do you see why I specified it’d have be a high paying job?!).
All of these things are great and something that most people are driven by regardless of ethnicity, I have come to realise, however they still produce “a weight of glory” (2nd Corinthians 4:17) or level of responsibility. This is why Jesus stated (in Luke 12:48) “everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more”. Author, Bob Patmore. calls this catch 22 “the other end of the stick” and we are accountable for all of these as stewards because, as the aforementioned scripture states, they have been “given” to us by God.
Likewise, we are also stewards over the other aspects that help us to obtain and maintain these responsibilities such as our time, energy, health, relationships, money, and emotional; mental and spiritual well-being. These all come under our spheres of influence and make up our “worlds”.
Principle #3: We will have to give an account for the things that God made us stewards over
If the wealthy man in Matthew 25:14-30 is really a metaphor for God, another important factor must be noted. Not only did God make us stewards, as we have extensively explored, He will one day ask us to give an account of everything (and everyone) that He made us stewards over. This day is known as “judgment day”. According to the Bible, on this day people who have accepted Christ as their Lord and savior will be welcomed into heaven, whereas those who have not will be punished in hell. This is also a day where people will receive additional rewards according to how well they lived (or were stewards over) their lives, just as the wealthy man did with his servants in Matthew 25 (see- Revelations 20:11-15; Matthew 25: 31-46; John 8:12 & Matthew 12:36-37).
Simply put, God wants a return on His investment for “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down” from Him (James 1:17).
We are fruitful with our talents when we use them but we multiply them when we seek to improve and build upon them, like Servants A and B. So, I want you to consider:
- Which areas of your life have you been fruitful in?
- Which areas are you yet to fully cultivate?
- Where do you need to improve as a steward?
Then I want you to decide how you are going to make changes, where necessary, and implement that plan!