Women in Ministry

WOMEN IN MINISTRY FOR GOD

Note: This is a study which I did in 1991 for a presentation to the Martinsburg, WV, church study committee when they were considering the topic of women elders.

Gal. 3:26-28 – “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave not free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Gal. 4:4-6 – “God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

Eph. 2:19-20 – “You are…fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

Rev. 1:5, 6 – “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father – to Him be glory and power for ever and ever!”

1 Pet. 2:4, 5 – “As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Rom. 12:5-8 – “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it (etc.)

1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11, 31 – “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines…. But eagerly desire the greater gifts.”

Principle: In Christ, all become spiritual sons, and all of the gifts are available to all persons, according to the discretion of the Spirit.

1 Tim. 2:12 – “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have (usurp-KJV) authority over a man. She must be silent.”

“Have authority” - Greek = authenteo: to act of oneself, i.e. (fig.) dominate:–usurp authority over

Principle:  Woman is not to act independently of, or seek to dominate, man.

1 Cor. 11:10-12 – “For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.”

“Sign of authority” (power-KJV) – Greek = exousia: privilege, force, capacity, competency, freedom, or master, delegated influence; authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

Examples:  Matt. 28:18 – “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Mark 6:7 – “Calling the 12 to Him, He sent them out 2 by 2 and gave them authority over evil              spirits.”

Rev. 13: 4, 5, 7 – The devil gives his authority to the beast.

1 Pet. 3:4 – Woman can earn the respect of both man and God by exhibiting “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

1 Pet. 5:5, 6 – “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

Principle: As long as she remains in submission to the proper lines of authority with meekness and humility, woman is free in Christ to receive the delegated authority from the church body to exercise any and all of the gifts that God chooses to bestow upon her by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:2, 3 – “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Acts 10:38 – “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.”

Acts 9:17 – Ananias placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord…has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 11:15, 17, 18 – “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as He had come on us at the beginning. So if God gave them the same gift as He gave us…who was I to think I could oppose God? When they heard this, they had no further objections.”

Acts 6:2, 3, 4, 6, 7 – “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables….Choose 7 men among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and we will give our attention to prayer and to the ministry of the word….They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread….and increased rapidly.”

1 Tim. 4:14 – “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.”

Num. 8:10, 11 – “You are to bring the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them….so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord.”

Num. 27:18-20 – “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua…a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him.”

Principle: Laying on of hands was to set apart a person to do the work that the Lord had called him to do. It was the Holy Spirit’s choice, and the people responded by giving their assent to God’s choice.

Esther 9:29, 31, 32 – “So Queen Esther…along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim….to establish these days…as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them….Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.”

Judges 4:4, 5 – “Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided.”

2 Chron. 19:5, 6 – “He (Jehoshaphat) appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, ‘Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict.”

Principle: God can work through males or females to lead His people if they are submitted to Him. Apparently God works down the line of command, choosing men first if there are any available. But if not, He works with whomever He finds that He can use. He is no respecter of persons.

Example: Judges 4:8, 9 – “Barak said to her, ‘If you go with me, I will go; But if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.’ ‘Very well,’ Deborah said, ‘I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman.’”

1 Cor. 11:3 – “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and head of Christ is God.”

Verses 7, 8 – “A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.”

Note: If the relationship of God the Father and God the Son is analogous to that of man and woman, what implications does this have for the delegation of authority?

Heb. 1:3, 6, 9 – “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being….When God brings His firstborn into the world, He says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship Him.’…About the Son He says,… ‘You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’”  See Acts 10:38.

John 17:1, 2, 4, 10, 22, 23 – “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those you have given Him….I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do….All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them….I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me.”

John 14:12 – “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.”

Principle: The members of the godhead are glorified by sharing their gifts and authority with each other and with us. If we follow their example, all the gifts that God has given will be functioning in the church, and God in turn will be fully glorified as the revenue of His love flows back to Him.

Conclusion:

Matt. 28:18, 19 – “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”

Luke 10:19 – “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Matt. 10:7, 8 – “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.’”

1 Pet. 4:10, 11 – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

E. G. WHITE QUOTES

                “Christ was establishing a kingdom on different principles. He called men, not to authority, but to service, the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak.” DA 550.

                “The Lord Jesus has not been correctly represented in His relation to the church by many husbands in their relation to their wives, for they do not keep the way of the Lord. They declare that their wives must be subject to them in everything. But it was not the design of God that the husband should have control, as head of the house, when he himself does not submit to Christ. He must be under the rule of Christ that he may represent the relation of Christ to the church. If he is a course, rough, boisterous, egotistical, harsh, and overbearing man, let him never utter the word that the husband is the head of the wife, and that she must submit to him in everything; for he is not the Lord, he is not the husband in the true significance of the term.” AH 117.

                “Morning and evening the father, as priest of the household, should confess to God the sins committed by himself and his children through the day. Those sins which have come to his knowledge and also those which are secret, of which God’s eye alone has taken cognizance, should be confessed. This rule of action, zealously carried out by the father when he is present or by the mother when he is absent, will result in blessings to the family.” AH 212.

                “Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands. In some cases they will need to counsel with the church officers or the minister; but if they are devoted women, maintaining a vital connection with God, they will be a power for good in the church. This is another means of strengthening and building up the church. We need to branch out more in our methods of labor. Not a hand should be bound, not a soul discouraged, not a voice should be hushed; let every individual labor, privately or publicly, to help forward this grand work. Place the burdens upon men and women of the church, that they may grow by reason of the exercise, and thus become effective agents in the hand of the Lord for the enlightenment of those who sit in darkness.” R&H July 9, 1895.

                “All who desire an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to God, will find in the canvassing work opportunities to speak upon many things pertaining to the future, immortal life. The experience thus gained will be of the greatest value to those who are fitting themselves for the ministry. It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God.” 6 T 322.

                “Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, His love, and the supplement of His glory, - Christ the great center, from whom radiates all glory.” 4 BC 1180.

THOUGHT QUESTIONS:

Is it unscriptural to delegate authority to those under us in the “chain of command”?

In the godhead, are the lesser roles reserved for Christ, since His head is God the Father?

In Scripture, are the gifts of the Spirit given by gender?

Who decides to whom the gifts will be given?

What is the responsibility of the church when specific gifts are given to individuals by the Holy Spirit?

According to Scripture, what are some of the purposes of the custom of laying on of hands?

Even though Christ was the Son of God, did He need to be anointed , or set apart for His public ministry?

Should the ministry today be modeled after the patriarchal system of the priesthood of the firstborn son, or did Christ fulfill that for all?

Is the ministry today a reflection of apostolic succession, or of the priesthood of all believers?

Is it Scripturally or morally wrong to set apart women for service by the laying on of hands?

Has God ever used women to lead or teach His people, including men?

What is God’s condition before elevating anyone to a position of leadership, honor, or authority?

 

ADDENDUM

September 16, 2011

                In 1984, my pastor asked me to serve as an elder, because the board of elders felt that my services and gifts were needed in working with the women in the church. I accepted, and was well received by the pastor, the elders, and the people in the two churches in our district. Later that year God called me into public ministry as a full-time speaker for American Cassette Ministries (now American Christian Ministries), and since that time I have had the privilege of speaking around the world, both in the United States and other countries in the ministry which God has given me.  For one year I also served as associate pastor of one of the larger churches in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was also well received, and much appreciated by the pastor for my work there, including a Revelation Seminar which my husband and I presented, which produced several baptisms.

                In the early years of my ministry, I would occasionally be approached by well-meaning, sincere gentlemen who pleaded with me to rescind my eldership status, as it could not be from God, since it was not Scriptural. One such person was a co-worker who had made a considerable study on the subject and had published a seminar supporting his views. Generally I have remained silent on this topic, because few change their ideas after once taking a stand. I have had two who did change, however – a General Conference vice president, and, amazingly, my co-worker – on the basis of observing God’s blessing on my work.  

                Through the years it has been my policy to remain uninvolved in this controversial issue, and most people probably do not even know that I have served as a woman elder. I know that God called me and enabled me to serve in this way, and that is all that matters to me. But recently, I have felt God calling me to a deeper study of this subject, and I will now write down the result of this study. May it help some, as it has helped me, to see light from Scripture which will be a guideline for the service of women in the church.

Question: What was God’s original purpose of God for mankind before sin came into the picture?

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule…over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ God created man in His own image,..male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living creature that moves on the ground.’” Gen. 1:26-28.

Notice that Adam and Eve were both called “man”, and that they were co-rulers over the earth. Created in the image of God, they were to function together as do the members of the godhead. No one was to rule over the other, and they were to share equally their rulership. But in the order of the godhead, there is a “chain of command” – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. No one in this chain of command rules over the One above Him in this divine order. So in this same way, Adam was given the headship by the order of his creation and his god-given gifts of leadership and authority, and Eve, though created to be his equal partner, was never to rule over him, just as the Son of God never rules over His Father.

It was only after the fall of man, that God said, “he (the husband) will rule over you.” Gen. 3:16. This is not really a command from God, but a prediction from His foreknowledge. Man’s superiority in physical strength, and his gifts of leadership and authority would naturally cause him, in his fallen state, to “rule over” his wife. When tempered by God’s grace, this can be a blessing for the order and functioning of the family, the church, and society. But when the carnal heart is unchecked by the grace and love of God, it can be the source of great pain and misery in the human family. Therefore, God would have us as His children, to learn to function in the divine order of peace and love and deference to one another, preparing for the complete restoration to the original purpose for our creation – to reflect accurately the divine order of the family in heaven.

Question: Is there any Biblical support for women to serve as elders in the local church?

                On the surface, there are no clear instances where men and women elders served together as co-equals in the church. But there are inferences from the original language which would allow the possibility that women served the church in leadership capacities which are Scripturally designated as appropriate for godly women.

                First, I want to address the word “elder.” In the Greek, this word is “presbyter,” or various forms of it. The word means “elderly, older, a senior.” Strong’s Concordance. The NIV Concordance gives a little more detail: Presbytesolder man, possibly an official of the church in some contexts. Presbytisolder woman, possibly an official of the church in context. Presbyterosolder, ancestral; in the Gospels and Acts, usually an official leader of the Jewish community. In the epistles, “older man” and “older woman,” who may or may not be official leaders of the church, depending on the context.

Note: Presbyteros is the root word for both older men (presbytes) and older women (presbytis). Presbyteros is used for “older women” in 1 Tim. 5:2, and in all cases for “elders” in the New Testiment.

                Now let’s consider the context outlined in Titus:

Titus 1:5-9 – Appoint elders (presbyteros) in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer (Bishop in KJV) is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – Not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”

Titus 2:3-5 – “Likewise, teach the older women (presbytis) to be reverent in the way they live (KJV – ‘that they be in behavior as becometh holiness”, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Here it is clear that the “older men,” or elders, refers to appointed leaders in the church. But could it not be that the “older women” described could also have risen to places of leadership, especially dealing with the women and children and teaching them to be circumspect in life and deportment so that the word of God would not be maligned in the community? Are not women more suited to do this than men in dealing with this vital area of church life?

“Christianity elevated the status of womanhood to a position hitherto unknown. However, this new status required a corresponding response from Christian women. They were to fulfill God’s original purpose as bulwarks of tenderness and devotion. Thus, Christian women were to set the pattern of purity and devotion to home and children, both for their own daughters as well as for their pagan neighbors.

As becometh holiness. Or, ‘as those engaged in sacred service,’ literally, ‘as priestesses.’…

“The faithful performance of daily tasks constitutes the first responsibility of a Christian woman. No church duties, however well performed, can compensate for a lack of proper child care or emotional immaturity….Paul’s special care was to establish the church on right principles, knowing that the moral and spiritual tone of the home and community is largely determined by its women.” 7 BC 364, 5.

Doesn’t it seem plausible and logical that every church would be more well-rounded, healthy and effective if women elders (a possible term as used in the context of Titus 2:3) would be elected who would tend to the needs of the feminine side of the church body as here outlined in Scripture? If God has gifted a woman to do this effectively, should she not be recognized by the church to function in this capacity? And if she has gifts of speaking and leadership, would not the church be edified and God glorified by her use of these gifts under the proper designated lines of authority? Even in the Old Testament, Deborah is an example of what God can do through a woman if she is chosen by God to do so. A woman does not have to be a prophetess to be able to use the gifts God has given her to serve the church effectively and appropriately.

Another woman that God used, this time in the New Testament church, was Phoebe.

Rom. 16:1, 2 – “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.”

 Both the KJV and the NIV calls her a “servant” of the church. But the original word is “diakonos,” or “deacon.” It is the exact word that is used for male deacons, thus showing that females in the early church were serving, as were men, in using their gifts to build up the body of Christ. Incidentally, where does this put the argument that when the Scripture uses the phrase “the husband of one wife,” that this proves that elders must be men? Deacons also were to be “the husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:12), so I assume that Phoebe must have been the wife of one husband, if we wish to be consistent. Or maybe she had no husband at all! At any rate, she was gifted and accepted by God and Paul as an effective worker in the church.

Now I want to address the topic of “overseer” or “bishop.” The Greek word for this is “episkopos,” meaning “overseer,” or “superintendent.” It comes from the Gr. ‘epi,’ meaning on or over, and ‘skopein,’ meaning look. From my study, I think we would be better off to avoid the use of the word “bishop,” because it is not in the original language. It is an English word which came into use by the 4th century, and was used by the early Christians to refer to a religious leader. (Wickipedia resource.) Unfortunately, this term rather quickly evolved into the idea of a supreme bishop, eventually the pope. In the martyrology of Ignatius of Antioch (about A.D. 116), there occur such expressions as: “We must regard the bishop as the Lord himself”; “Let all respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even as the bishop is also a type of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and the college of Apostles”; “He who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop is serving the devil”. 6 BC 39.

But going back to the term, “overseer,” it seems that although the terms “elder” and “overseer” are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a subtle distinction that although all overseers are elders, not all elders are overseers. In fact, “the episcopate evolved out of the chief eldership, though not at the same rate everywhere.” 6 BC 38. Sparing you all the texts in this subject, I would like to propose my understanding of this as it applies to women elders. It seems that although women in the early church could have served as elders under the appropriate Scriptural guidelines given above, there is not the slightest hint that they ever served as overseers. I believe this is because God has given men the gifts and calling to be leaders in the home, in the church, and in society which transcend those given to women. Yes, we can do almost anything if we set our minds to the task or goal. But when we do this at the expense of the leadership given to men, we are out of the divine order which is exemplified in the godhead. As noted in the first section of this study, men are free to give leadership and authority to women who display the God-given gifts which would enhance the cause of God and maintain the rightful leadership and authority of men whom God has chosen. But women are not to usurp this authority, just as Jesus would never usurp the authority of His Father.

Therefore, I applaud our church for maintaining this divine order, by permitting women elders on the local level, and using their varying gifts on all levels in the church, while still holding the line when it comes to positions of authority such as Conference leaders, etc., which approximate the requirements of “overseers.” Yes, we do have some women pastors, and those who decry this may have a point if it is done without the authority of the Conference leadership and the approval of the church board of the local congregation. Women pastors have been especially successful in areas or countries where no male pastors were available. This would qualify as a modern “Deborah” – a call to step into service for the Master and be used to help the cause of God’s people whenever and wherever they were needed.

And who can even begin to measure the effect of all the women who are often unsung “heroes” in every church, every home, and even in the community and workforce, who hold up the pillars of society with very little appreciation and recognition. But God knows, and He will reward the efforts of each one according to the use they have made of the gifts He has given them. The world may not see or appreciate these humble servants, but one day soon, the unselfish labors of each child of God “will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever.”

Conclusion: In this sinful world, it is hard to comprehend how giving and sharing and serving can be more blessed than receiving and keeping and ruling. But in God’s form of government, the giver receives more in the act of giving, and the faithful servant is rewarded with leadership. Of course, Jesus is the supreme example, as is noted so often in Scripture, and even God, as Creator and Sustainer of the universe, serves those that He has created. So, whether we are male or female, we are chosen by God to serve in the capacity and with the gifts that He has bestowed upon us. Notice these beautiful words from the pen of Ellen White:

“Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which “seeks not her own” has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto. 

 

“Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud. 

 

“The angels of glory find their joy in giving,—giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know.

 

“But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father.” “I seek not Mine own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18. In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life.

                “In heaven itself this law was broken. Sin originated in self-seeking. DA 19-21.

 

“All things both in heaven and in earth declare that the great law of life is a law of service. The infinite Father ministers to the life of every living thing. Christ came to the earth “as He that serveth.” Luke 22:27. The angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1:14. The same law of service is written upon all things in nature. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the trees of the forest, the leaves, the grass, and the flowers, the sun in the heavens and the stars of light—all have their ministry. Lake and ocean, river and water spring—each takes to give.

 

“As each thing in nature ministers thus to the world’s life, it also secures its own. “Give, and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38), is the lesson written no less surely in nature than in the pages of Holy Writ.

 

“As the hillsides and the plains open a channel for the mountain stream to reach the sea, that which they give is repaid a hundredfold. The stream that goes singing on its way leaves behind its gift of beauty and fruitfulness. Through the fields, bare and brown under the summer’s heat, a line of verdure marks the river’s course; every noble tree, every bud, every blossom, a witness to the recompense God’s grace decrees to all who become its channels to the world.”  Ed 103.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

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