Sister to Sister – Her Avodah
Sitting in the audience at the International Union of Messianic Jewish Congrgations Annual Conference in Woodland Hills, California in July 2013, I was moved by Rabbi Kirk Gliebe’s call to Avodah. It was personal, heartfelt and passionate. I agree with the President in that as his own people, we are collectively and individually chosen and uniquely gifted by HaShem for his purposes, for unique Avodah. It is only through submission to G-D and obedience to his calling that we are empowered to accomplish any great work, or supernatural Avodah. I write to encourage my sisters to consider going farther and stretching ourselves. A special need exists, and I invite my sisters to prayerfully consider where we, as women and believers, can serve as leaders within the Messianic movement. Let’s see where we could bring our talents and gifts to bear within our congregations and communities or even fill in gaps in UMJC leadership!
Consider Rebecca. In Genesis 24:1-20 we find the story of Abraham’s servant tasked with finding a wife for Isaac. While the focus of this Torah reading may naturally lead one to Abraham or Isaac, I would like to detail some characteristics that are demonstrated by Rebecca. These characteristics will form an outline or template for strong, faithful women – those of us called to “Radical Avodah” as shared by Rabbi Jamie Cowen at the Conference.
The servant is told by Abraham to seek a wife for Isaac among his countrymen. The servant is called to preserve a current component of G-D’s plan (the line of Abraham) while concurrently seeking the new direction (a new family member) to enable Isaac to follow G-D’s plan. In some ways the UMJC itself represents the servant. The UMJC is called by G-D to preserve the Torah and the Jewish Community by supporting Messianic Congregations. Concurrently it supports new directions as the Ruach points the way. Only through humility and openness to G-D can we expect to know his perfect will and be empowered to walk in it.
When the servant did not know the way he should go on his own, Abraham told him “Adonai will send an angel before you.” While we may not know exactly what “women in leadership” might look like now, we can trust that if it is G-D’s design he will see to it that we have direction. The servant prayed specifically for success and signs. We should do the same for this new direction. Let us seek his favor, success and signs which will provide confirmation and encouragement as we traverse this new path.
Are we open to change that HaShem may bring or are we comfortable with the way we have always done things? We can be certain that the Ruach led Rebecca to the well that day. She was obedient. She was willing. Rebecca had all the necessary gifts and was the choice of HaShem. Sisters, it is time to inventory our gifts and talents. Let us see if G-D is not calling us to do more than what we are doing now. We are an important part of the UMJC. We are Messianic. Do some have education? Do some have experience? Are some natural leaders within their congregations? The UMJC could use those who are qualified. Who is G-D calling? Could it be you?
What would be the cost to you if you were chosen and walked in obedience? In our reading, Rebecca hurried to give the servant a drink, willingly. She worked without delay; as the scriptures read, “she quickly emptied her jug into the trough and ran to the well.” It was the end of the day, evening. Rebecca was probably completing her final tasks of the day when this man comes to her with ten camels! She not only waters them but continues to do so “until they are full.” We can see from this example that the price of obedience is hard work and sacrifice. Some may not hear a call, others will perceive the sacrifice as too great, the price too high. But for those who hear the call of Adonai, we have the duty to fulfill his purpose in our lives! Are you listening for his voice? Could you, dear reader, be here now, at this time in history, with your unique gifts, for such a time as this?
I am interested to see where this conversation may go. I want to be a Rebecca. I want to be that woman called for his purpose and fulfill that calling for which I was created. I may not know the details yet, but I realize that as women, we have many opportunities to serve. We are wives, mothers, teachers and far more. At this time and at this juncture in our movement, I believe it is time to consider HER AVODAH and what that looks like in our Union and within our congregations. I look forward to seeing my sisters continue to grow and bring fresh insight and direction to Messianic Judaism. You can make a contribution, are you willing?
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.