Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: The Bible talks about a distinctive role of women that we often overlook, showing God's love to others through good deeds. Here's Barbara Hughes.

Barbara Hughes: Whether you are rich or you are poor, give what you have to God. It's been given to you and always, no matter how little you have, you can give.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Friday, May 30.

Many people say they want to serve God but then make excuses for not following through. Often these excuses focus on how little the person feels they have to offer. But today we'll learn that quantity of resources doesn't matter. That's not what God measures. Here's Nancy to introduce today's topic.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We've been talking this week with Kent and Barbara Hughes about the implications of the Gospel in our lives as women. What does it mean to be a godly woman who lives under the loving rule of Jesus Christ? Kent and Barbara, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Kent Hughes: Thank you.

Barbara Hughes: It's great to be here, Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I'm so thankful for this pair of books that you've written. Kent, Disciplines of a Godly Man and Barbara, a book that followed Kent's book "¦

Barbara Hughes: By ten years.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: By ten years, called Disciplines of a Godly Woman. Kent, I haven't had a chance to read most of your book yet, but I know it has a lot of rich insights into it. I actually started into it a few days ago and had to put it down because I wanted to be prepared for this discussion with Barbara. Barbara, I love your book.

Barbara Hughes: Thank you so much.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It just was so challenging to me. It's one of those books I wish that I had written and I'm so glad that you did.

Barbara Hughes: That's a great compliment.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, it really has challenged my thinking in so many practical areas as to what it means to be distinctively female, to be a woman of God and to live out God's unique design and purpose for my life as a woman.

We want to talk today about one chapter in your book that applies to both men and women biblically. But scripturally there is a specific role for women in this area of good deeds.

Now I know there are millions of people, perhaps billions, around the world who think that the way you get to God or to heaven is by doing good deeds and that's not what you're saying at all.

Barbara Hughes: No, absolutely not. To begin with, we all know Ephesians 2:8-9 when it says, "For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."

I don't know which translation that is, but I memorized it that way a long time ago. We know that it's all of grace. We have not earned it. But the very next verse goes on to say, this is Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do."

The very next verse says that we have been created, planned before the foundation of the world, with good works in mind. There are good deeds that God had planned for us to do when He designed us with those good deeds in mind.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So we're not made righteous by doing those good deeds.

Barbara Hughes: No.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: But having been made righteous by the grace of Jesus Christ, we then enter into a life of responding to Him by acts of service.

Barbara Hughes: Right!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know I think it's interesting that in previous generations women were really encouraged to develop spiritual maturity and character by doing selfless acts, deeds of charity.

I think of the mother in Little Women. She was known for and she trained those four daughters of hers to care for the poor, to take food to the needy, to even, sometimes out of their own poverty to share what they had. But she's kind of a relic.

You know, we like watching the video because it stirs something in us. But the focus in our generation has been more on how you look, having a body that's appealing, that's pleasant, that's beautiful, rather than on the character and the deeds we do.

Barbara Hughes: That's exactly right. That's how I introduce my chapter because it used to be that all of society wanted to have young women develop their character through good deeds.

Whether you were Christian or not, it was just the right thing to do. But that is gone. But now, you know, it's "Get that body in shape. Hard. Get a good, hard body." And grueling workouts have replaced good deeds and improving one's character. And so the church has got to stand up and say, "No, this is not what I was created for. I was created for good deeds."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now when we talk about good deeds, let's list some here. What are some examples of ways that women"¦and Kent, you're a pastor. You have a lot of women in your church. What are some of the ways that women can serve, acts of charity, acts of kindness, that help contribute to the Body of Christ and make the Gospel believable?

Kent Hughes: Well, one of the things that has been a great concern to me is that acts of mercy and acts of kindness, which have been the province of women over the years, has been minimized now by so many women being outside the home that you don't have women to do those things within the church.

Barbara Hughes: The workforce in the church has diminished.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The women are exhausted.

Kent Hughes: Yeah, so we end up hiring surrogates or hiring pastors or hiring more staff to do the things that ought to be done within the Body of Christ. If you look at the Body of Christ and if you take the name "deacon" or "deaconess," it means "minister" or "servant."

It's used that way and acts of mercy: caring for the needy, helping the disabled, doing things around church that need to be done, visiting people, writing letters, baking goods-- all those kinds of things which build relationship within the Body of Christ and evangelize neighbors today have kind of fallen on hard times. We'll have exceptions within it; we celebrate these wonderful women within the church. But it really has been lost to a great extent.

Barbara Hughes: Well, we naturally think about the things that we can do in the Body of Christ at church. And one of the things that surprised me when I studied this whole topic of good deeds, not only was how often the term is used and how often we are called to good deeds; how important they are"¦

In fact, in the epistles, it talks about the qualifications for a widow to be put on the list of the church's aid; in a sense, lists the things that she's to be known for. And one of them is good deeds.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Let's just look at that passage. 1 Timothy, chapter 5, you're referring to and, in the context, as you said, it's talking about widows and what would qualify them to be cared for by the church. But I think Paul is giving us here a curriculum for all of us "¦

Barbara Hughes: Absolutely!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: ...as women. The first is that she's been the wife of one man. She was a faithful wife. And then in verse 10 of 1 Timothy 5, "she's well reported for good works."

She has a reputation for doing good deeds. That's what she's known for. It says, "if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she's relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work." This is what her reputation needs to be.

Barbara Hughes: I would encourage women who are listening to do a word study and look for "good deeds." Cross-reference it and see what you read about it. The thing that also struck me is how often they're related to the care of a family and, in the context, it's God's family.

I've always been such an evangelist, you know, that it sort of took me up short to realize that good deeds are important to God, for the family of God, that we must begin with the household of God in caring for one another. It's important to Him. And it ought to be at least as important to us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Kent or Barbara, when you think in the context of your church and the people you know, someone who is a woman, who is well-known for good deeds, who comes to your mind?

Kent Hughes: I can think of a pair of women in my church. I won't say their names to embarrass them, but they're both single. One is a widow at this point and the other hasn't been married.

The one who hasn't been married is a retired bank president. She has this incredible ministry of serving others. So, I can't tell you what she does but"¦I mean, I can't say it all"¦but she serves as church treasurer. I mean she's really got that down. She serves as financial advisor and meets with couples and helps them with their finances, probably 50 to 100 couples a year that she sits down and works with.

She will be out working in the garden at the church or washing windows, I mean"¦

Barbara Hughes: She cooks meals. She just doesn't waste a minute of time.

Kent Hughes: Then the other one, she works as a nurse within our congregation, visiting the infirm and so on. She's a retired nurse. Incredible! Both of them.

Barbara Hughes: Yes, she has actually been hired as the church nurse. She cares. She's a widow and goes out and cares.

But the thing we need to make sure that we don't forget here is that are so many ways, there's ways to do it if you're poor. You know, you can read about it in that wonderful book, Christy. Everybody knows that story Christy.

Well, that's about a real woman, Catherine Marshall's mother. And Catherine Marshall writes about her mother in another book and tells wonderful stories about, in their poverty, how she gave. She would take a meal to someone who was sick. And the children were always a part of that.

She would always say that she was going off to help the poor people and they were poor. They didn't think they were poor because mother went to help the poor people.

But then there's the wealthy. I mean, the woman I talk about in my book is Celina Hastings. Lady Elizabeth Catherwood from England talks about and speaks so highly about her. She's obviously not alive today. She lived in 1707 in England, but she used her means, her wealth and her power for the sake of the Gospel.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And she was very instrumental in serving and encouraging those that were the leaders of the first Great Awakening.

Barbara Hughes: Right. She supported them.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: She was an instrument of revival. She was a wealthy woman. But out of her means, out of her resources, she helped to build churches, was a supporter of George Whitfield.

Barbara Hughes: It's phenomenal what she did. What I would encourage women in the listening audience to do is, whether you are rich or you are poor, give what you have to God. Use it for His kingdom. It's been given to you and always, no matter how little you have, you can give. And you can give and use your means for the kingdom of God through good deeds.

Leslie Basham: I think we should all take some time today and think about what we can give to further God's kingdom. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Kent and Barbara Hughes about the Disciplines of a Godly Woman including the discipline of giving.

If today's program has given you some ideas about ways you can give, would you write and let us know? You can also ask for a copy of Barbara's book Disciplines of a Godly Woman.

It's available for a suggested donation of $18. You can write to us at Revive Our Hearts. Or you can call us toll free at 1-800-569-5959. You can also find information on all of the books and tapes you hear about on the program by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Next week Nancy will offer Seven Secrets for Singles. If you know a single woman, you might want to remind her to listen. And if you're married, you can listen, too, and learn about trust and contentment. Now here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We've been talking about the distinctive calling and privilege that we have particularly as women to reflect to the world the greatness and the graciousness and the goodness of God by good deeds.

And I think of the passage in Matthew, chapter 5:16, where Jesus says there in the Sermon on the Mount, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds." And what's the result? "They will glorify your Father Who is in heaven." This is how we make the Gospel believable to a watching world.

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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