Every colt that qualifies to carry a man should be out in the field and not tied up! This colt was not productive because it was tied. This was not its fault, but none-the-less, it was unproductive.
Jesus could have used a horse, which implied authority and was certainly faster and more powerful. But He chose to use a colt. He warned His disciples that when they attempted to untie the colt, their actions would be challenged. "Why are you doing this?" the neighbors asked. But a challenge did not stop them.
This story is a picture of the situation in which many around the world find themselves, particularly women and children. These are the most marginalized people in the world. Sadly, this is not only the case in secular society but in the church as well. Women are bound by all kinds of cultural and social restrictions.
If Jesus chooses to use women, often seen as lowly and humble as a colt, no one should continue to tie them and force them to be unproductive. He needs every available resource to be released.
Women have become the majority of the unreached. Half a billion Muslims are female -- inaccessible and restricted. In many parts of the world women are forced to follow the religion of their husbands.
Women find it difficult to reach the unreached because they are restricted by culture, the church and religious traditions, fear, family responsibilities and economic powerlessness.
At this late hour of world evangelization, every available resource must be mobilized. I feel that women are not being released as they should be, yet they are a formidable work force for evangelism.
As a leading woman in the Old Testament, Esther has much to teach us about a woman's responsibility. When she received news of the impending destruction of the Jews by Hanan, she initially reacted as a woman. Dr. Tokunboh Adeyemo, chairman of the Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar, explained her response. He noted Queen Esther's two soft options.
First, she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, her cousin (4:4). But it was not good enough. The problem was too serious for a simple physical change.
Secondly, she worked behind the scenes. She sent an expert by the name of Hathach to find out what was going on (4:5-9). This is not a bad response, but when research stops short of action, it does not solve the problem. Esther, as many women in the world today, had the potential, the gifts and resources to save her people, but in her role as a woman she did not think she could do anything.
Mordecai would not accept Esther's soft options. He demanded a hard option. "Go to the king," he commanded. Implore his favor. Plead for your people (4:8).
Esther agreed and enlisted others to pray. She realized her actions might cost her life -- "If I perish, I perish." Mordecai freed Esther to use her options, knowing it was not culturally acceptable and could even be dangerous.
If we are totally committed to ensuring that there is a church for every people and the gospel for every person by AD 2000, we will have to see the church take such courageous steps.
Women leaders will develop prayer groups to focus on the unevangelized, to mobilize their networks to target the unreached and find ways to work together synergistically not only with each other, but also with men in the church.
As a result we expect to see women in these countries touched by the AD 2000 Movement to have an active evangelism program in at least three unreached people groups locally or cross-culturally. It is expected that proportionate number of unreached groups will be targeted in larger countries. This will occur through women's organizations or in cooperation with the male leadership of the church.
The Pan African Women's Association (PACWA) which has branches in 30 African countries is an example of this kind of new thinking. Women have come together to focus on particular needs of women in each country. AIDS seminars and clinics have been established, Small business ventures have been promoted. Legal harassment has been confronted. Women have come together from many denominations and groups to focus their special skills on concerns of women.
Once they are released, women will be encouraged to become involved in short-term missions projects such as visits to villages where there is no gospel witness, or to hold seminars in areas where there is great resistance to the gospel
To open doors among resistant people, specialized training could be offered under many subjects. For example, Christian nurses could share the gospel as they teach primary health care to some unreached group. In specific places where men are not allowed to work, these would be unique opportunities for women.
We dream of a ministry of partnership complementing not competing with each other. This will bring reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18) Rwanda, Bosnia and South Africa, just to name a few nations, have shown that we need more than revival. We need a ministry of reconciliation.
Local fundraising and income generating projects should be encouraged so that evangelistic efforts are not slowed by lack of finances. Since women represent the greatest labor force in the world, but earn only 10% of the income, they need to be helped to increase their business skills and income potential. A holistic approach is what is needed.
We are proud of the women attending this conference who have taken up the challenge to serve their governments as Christian politicians. May God increase their number.