Jen Wilkin at women's leadership event: Be fearless
DALLAS(BP) -- Jen Wilkin encouraged women to be fearless in their advocacy on behalf of others and to fear the Lord above all else during this year's Women's Leadership Breakfast June 13 in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.
"I pray that this will be a room full of women who will speak on behalf of your sisters with fearlessness," she said.
Referencing the first of the 10 commandments, Wilkin said she believes this is the first commandment because "it is an invitation not just to avoid idolatry; it is actually an invitation into reality."
Wilkin, a member of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, explained that the opposite of the fear of the Lord is the fear of man.
She read the story of Shiphrah and Puah, two Hebrew midwives who chose to deliver Moses regardless of the command they were given by Pharaoh to kill all Hebrew males during the birthing process.
Wilkin explained that these Hebrew women feared God more than the threat of death by Pharaoh. Wilkin also pointed out that even though the passage shows that the women lied to Pharaoh about why the babies were not killed, the Lord did not condemn them. But instead, she said, He rewarded them for protecting life.
"These women understood that you do not give the truth to someone to whom it is not due," Wilkin said. "They understood that when faced with the question of speaking the truth in its most simple sense or protecting life that every time you protect life."
Pharaoh didn't think daughters could affect the course of a nation, but he was wrong, Wilkin noted.
"Israel's first deliverer is not Moses. It is actually women. There would be no Moses without their bravery."
"They understood that she is no slave to fear who fears the Lord," Wilkin said of Shiphrah and Puah. She added that numerous other women throughout Scripture exemplify such fear of God including, Sarah, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Hannah and Mary, the mother of Jesus.
"The Bible is filled with the stories of fearless female deliverers and I propose to you that we join the ranks," Wilkin said.
"Misdirected fear" keeps us from moving forward, Wilkin said. "The fear of man ... is always tied to losing a possession, a relationship or a circumstance," she said. God's grace is the greatest possession, His fatherhood the best relationship and His love the greatest circumstance, Wilkin added.
"My worst-case scenario is beautiful," she said.
Wilkin told women that the Lord does not give gifts to those that are unnecessary to the life of a church.
"Each one of you in this room can walk forward in the knowledge that if you do not act out on what the Lord has given you to do, that the church will be less than for it, Wilkin said. "The church will not look as it is intended to look."
Wilkin reminded women that they can do anything if they are content with not always getting credit and that there are women who need them as an advocate. She also encouraged them to confess idolatry in their lives, trusting that God cares more for their ministries than even they do.
Wilkin expressed her desire for them to "learn the life-giving fear of the Lord."
"Will you take up your place in this long line of female deliverers?" Wilkin asked.
Closing with Proverbs 31:30, Wilkin said, "A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised because in doing so she follows in the footsteps of our Savior, and that's what I ask for each of you."