Sermon Illustrations on women
Peace vs. Ease
Most women feel as though they give, give, give all day long. We give to ministries, the neighbors, our jobs, and the local PTA. We fill the roles of taxi driver, chef, teacher, and lover. We run to the grocery store and through the carpool line when all we really want to run is a bubble bath.
We feel called to give sacrificially of ourselves, but it is wearing us out. How do faithful women like Gracia stoke the internal fire to continuously serve? More importantly, how do they find peace amid such suffering and chaos? I think we often confuse peace with ease. Ease is comfort and convenience. Peace is a deep, settled soul unwavered by circumstance. Jesus never promised a life of ease, but He did say we would have supernatural peace when we trust Him.
Alisha Illian, Chasing Perfect: Peace and Purpose in the Exhausting Pursuit of Something Better, Harvest House, 2020.
Women Who Changed the World
American history books contain stories of women who changed society with their hard work and insistence on justice. The women of the suffrage movement clad in white, those active in the temperance movement, and those advocating for better housing and protections for children contributed to the formation of our nation.
I can name the abolitionist Harriet Tubman of the Underground Railroad; Jane Addams, who started the settlement house movement in America along with other social work initiatives; Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement; and Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers in California.
But I confess that these women, some of whom I studied during my school years, seemed to be extraordinary exceptions when it came to my own perception of women. No one told me that this kind of strength and determination was common to all women.
The Women are the Key
A well-known fact in community development circles is that if you want to enter a community, you introduce yourself to the leader, most often a man. But if you want to learn how the community functions and tap into its life force, then make time to listen to the women.
The key to transformation is found among the women. When my husband, Claude, and I began our work in Burundi, I didn’t yet fully grasp this fundamental truth. In 2009, our fledgling development organization began work in the gentle green mountains of Matara, a rural commune about eleven miles from the capital city. Working with community leaders, we identified and invited thirty Batwa families to move to a new plot of land that would become theirs. On a hot June day, the men arrived from other provinces with little more than a single sack of essentials—all they owned, really. They surveyed the land and all the work that would need to be done to make it home and to bring about food security for their families sooner rather than later.