Yes, God Use Me!
Being a woman in this world has been hard lately, hasn’t it?
With skewed opinions about women in ministry showing up on Twitter and Google, it’s no wonder why women may be discouraged to step into their callings and giftings. Although we may be excited for the opportunity to serve others, are we faithfully stepping out when called, or do we allow the noise around us or voices within us to hold us back?
Do you shout Yes, God, use me! And then find yourself sitting motionless in place, afraid to take action when God calls you to ministry? I understand because I’ve been there. Too scared to make a move, afraid I’ll do the wrong thing or make the wrong decision, and the nay-sayers (we all have them) will line up to happily remind me of all that is wrong with my choices.
While this world views ministry one way, the Father defines it through His lens of Truth and Love.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible reinforces the acceptance and inclusion that Jesus extended to women who followed Him.
Luke 8:1-3 in the Amplified Bible translations says:
“(1) Soon afterward, Jesus began going around from one city and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. The twelve [disciples] were with Him, (2) and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary, called Magdalene [from the city of Magdala in Galilee], from whom seven demons had come out, (3) and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means [as was the custom for a rabbi’s disciples].”
I love reading about the women who said yes to following Jesus. Not only are they courageous in walking out the hard things, but God calls them by name. There is something so intentional when God calls His Daughters by their identity. It implies that He sees them. It suggests that they are essential and honored.
As Daughters, we can glean encouragement and learn from Joanna and Susanna in what simple ministry looks like.
They were women of simple faith.
While we only know what is shared in the one verse about Susanna, we understand that both women were faithful followers of Jesus, and because of their faith, Jesus healed them of evil spirits and diseases. Joanna and Susanna were imperfect women loved by our perfect God.
Joanna, the wife of a significant officer within the Roman kingdom, could have lost her life for seeking out this great Jewish Teacher and Healer. Both women, in great faith, sought out Jesus, believing that He would do what only He could do, and that was to heal their bodies, minds, and spirits. These two women left the logical, reasonable comfort of their lives to sit in the presence of Jesus. Perhaps they hoped for the opportunity to reach out and touch the fringe of His robe and that He would have mercy on them and heal them from the inside out.
It takes childlike faith to act on something that may or may not happen. Faith is the simple act of believing our Father will take care of us and do as He promised He would do. It is the expectancy that God has called us into a Kingdom identity as His Child and His Church.
They were women of simple generosity.
While we know that Joanna was wealthy and well known, Susanna was merely mentioned by name only. However, we know from Luke 8:3 that these remarkable women selflessly served Jesus and contributed to His ministry from their own resources.
These women, considered to be followers of Jesus, supported His ministry and willingly gave out what they had. I believe there is a vast range here, from much to little, yet the heart posture is the same.
Simple generosity includes giving our resources and spending our moments sharing the love of Christ. Serving others can be as simple as providing physical items that someone less fortunate may need or taking care of the child of a new mom so that she can get a bit of rest.
Generosity is anything that we pour out of ourselves that ushers in the Kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven. By practicing and sharing our spiritual gifts and talents with those around us, we actively build the Church.
They were women of simple surrender.
These women, though mentioned little throughout the Bible, were committed and faithful in following Jesus.
We see in Luke 24:1-12 that after Jesus was crucified, Joanna was among the three women who found the empty tomb. She was so devoted to the ministry of Christ and who He was that she accepted the role of Jesus’ family and went back to the tomb to clean His broken, lifeless body. The verses in Luke 23:55-56 AMP described the love these women had for Christ, “Now the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed [closely], and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they went back and prepared spices and ointments and sweet-smelling herbs. And on the Sabbath they rested in accordance with the commandment [forbidding work].”
These women ministered to Jesus. They showed their love and respect through their actions. They were not concerned with the thoughts of others or what people would say about them. They placed their concern on what mattered most, the proper care for Jesus’ burial.
But there was more. Not only was Joanna one of the first people (and also a woman) in history to discover the empty tomb, but she was one of the first to declare the Good News! In that moment of simple, humble surrender, she became a great apostle sharing the Good News!
Even though we only get a glimpse of the impact these women made in their pursuit of saying yes to Jesus, their actions speak louder than any words written.
And, my dear friend, I want you to be encouraged and inspired by these women of faith. I hope you realize ministry isn’t about a platform, a title, or a published book. Ministry is serving others. It is one simple “yes, God” at a time.
Are you ready to say, yes, God use me?