Lessons from a ladies luncheon
(This was the beginning of my eyes being opened as to why women don’t make good Bible teachers; and before anyone complains, unqualified men don’t, either.)
Hebrews 4: 12, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Several years back, before I was reformed, I attended a ladies luncheon at our church. We had come together in the name of our Lord to feast on food and on the Word. A speaker had been carefully chosen to spiritually edify us and a catering company took care of our physical hunger. The tables were beautifully set, the food smelled delicious. The women were all dressed up as ladies that afternoon. Bedecked in pretty pinks and whites, lovely reds and purples, cute strappy sandals and elegant pumps, flowing fabrics and lacy dresses, the ladies were a vision of loveliness. There was the promise of sweet fellowship with our sisters; joy was in the air. It looked to be an absolutely lovely afternoon.
As the ladies poured in, women mingled and talked. We caught up on our weeks and shared laughs at the antics of our children and pets. The call to order came, the prayer was said, and we filled our plates. Sitting down, we chattered some more as we feasted. Jesus really wasn’t mentioned much by most of us. But I was assured that the chance to feast on the Word was just ahead. So I waited.
Preparing to Spiritually feast
“We should no more tolerate false doctrine than we would tolerate sin.” ~J.C. Ryle
When the meal was finished and the tables had been cleared, we grabbed desert and sat back down. One of the older ladies stood up and prayed for our afternoon of worship. A younger woman sang. Then the one who was introducing our speaker approached the podium. Oh, it was a beautiful introduction, full of flowery promises of good things to come. Because of that, you knew… you just were certain… that this lady she was introducing… this giant in the faith… was really going to fill us spiritually. She had Good News to share, abundant and overflowing.
Approaching the podium, she laid her Bible and notes down, and smilingly demurred at the introduction. She then cleared her throat, nodded, and began to speak. Next she shared a bit about herself and told a joke while we laughed appropriately. Surely, the meat of the Word was coming. She continued to talk. We continued to wait. And wait.
The Christian life is like a box of chocolates?
2 Timothy 3: 16-17, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Finally, our speaker did get around to filling us. Sort of. In a way, at least. As she made her point that, really, the life of a Christian woman is like a box of chocolates, she opened a large box of chocolates, put some on a plate, and asked us to pass them around. Encouraging us to try the candies, she said “Maybe your life is nutty…with all of the challenges of motherhood. Maybe your life is going well and it’s smooth and just the way you like it.…”
I suppose moms can make such silly statements to each other in passing conversation but a woman who is supposed to be wisely delivering lessons from the Word of truth to a gathering of her sisters? No.
What Scripture actually says
Titus 2: 1, But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
The Christian life is like a box of chocolates? In Scripture, we don’t see anything that even comes close to her description. Paul called the Christian life a race. We’re told to fight the good fight. Follow Christ. Obey. Serve. Worship. Learn. Teach. Be holy.
But this feel-good-pseudo-Bible-study and theological-junkfood-mumbo-jumbo has no place in the Christian life. It certainly has no place in the teaching of a supposedly mature and godly woman teaching her younger sisters.
Titus 2: 3-5, Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Not a word was spoken about loving our husbands, self-control, or anything at all from Titus 2. There was nothing about the importance of our roles of women. Not even a tidbit about righteous living. Spiritual junk food masquerading as theology, that’s all she offered us. This was the beginning of my eyes being opened as to what women are supposed to teach and aren’t supposed to teach.
When it was over, many of the women went up to her and told her how blessed they had been at her insights. I couldn’t wait to get out the door, head home, and pray. Her words hurt deep in my soul. I wanted truth that day. I want truth every day. Hard hitting, heart-breaking, soul mending truth. I was served up poison instead.
We ladies can handle the meat of the Word. We don’t ever need the candy of the Word. There is no such thing. Expecting pure food, we were served rot that day.
The Christian life: Lessons for teachers
Ladies, if you are blessed with the chance to teach to your sisters, remember that it’s never good for jokes or stories make up your whole point. Don’t tell us that our life is just like a big old box of smooth-nutty-delicious-creamy-yummy-chocolates. Instead of laughing and trying to make us feel good, help us to value our roles and grow as wives and mothers. If you are there to edify us, leave the stories and jokes, the cuteness and candy, on the shelf and share ways we can serve our families in a way that is truly pleasing to the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria!