Women leaders have a powerful influence in this world, and that prominence is continuing to rise. Since 2011 there are 23% more female Doctors and 50% more University Presidents. In his first speech following the Canadian election, Justin Trudeau indicated that for the first time in Canadian history he planned to appoint a fully gender-balanced Cabinet. This would be a 37% increase in female Cabinet members.
With the ongoing battles for female equality and climbing the ladder of success, where does that leave the Christian woman leader who desires to model Godliness? How do we suppress the desire within all of us to be recognized for our abilities and receive the earned applause?
Deborah an Israelite who lived almost 3000 years ago was known for being a judge, prophetess, and warrior. A time in history when men looked down on women, Deborah was a woman of worth and no shrinking violet. Deborah who helped defeat the Canaanite army gives us profound examples of being a confident yet humble Godly leader.
Firstly, she was the only female judge of Israel, but not because she was beautiful and had so many Ph.D.S. In a time of history when “people were doing things that seemed right in their own eyes”, Deborah’s standards rose above the fray. She had a remarkable relationship with God and followed his laws and worshipped Him. She was not power hungry; she wanted to serve and honour God. She knew how to delegate and whenever praise came her way, she gave God the credit.
Secondly, when Deborah had every reason to do so, she did not emasculate Barak the leader of the Israelite army. I wonder how a powerful woman of this 21st century would have handled Barak, the Commander in Chief who was afraid to go into battle by himself. How would a modern woman respond to a man saying: “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me I won’t go.” This is the perfect moment to run to the CEO or boss to tell him that Barak is weak and you are the perfect candidate qualified to lead the army. It’s your moment of recognition, its time to receive that raise and soak in the applause.
Deborah was a rare and Godly leader. The war was won because Deborah‘s desire was to obey and honour God’s instructions. Her response to Barak was: “Very well, I will go with you” (Judges 4:9). This allowed God to work through other people and bring about the defeat of the Canaanite army.
We can claw our way to success, emasculate the male gender along the way, or do it according to God’s way. “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God” (Psalm 75:6). When our priority is to first honour God and then other people, God can accomplish His works here on earth as it is in Heaven. Then your well-deserved applause and promotion will arrive at just the right time.