Although the New Testament spends little time discussing women,
Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist), Mary and Martha, Mary (the
mother of John Mark), Mary Magdalene, the Woman at the Well, Eunice and
Lois (grandmother and mother of Timothy), and others were influential.
Mary the Mother of Jesus, Lydia the seller of purple, and Priscilla (or
Prisca), teacher and mentor of Apollos demonstrated leadership.
Leaders assume responsibility. Mary took on
the responsibility to birth and raise God’s Son. (Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-20)
Not only did Mary give birth to Jesus, consider that Mary (along with
her husband, Joseph) was responsible for raising the Son of God.
Raising children requires parents to assume much responsibility.
Imagine the responsibility of raising the Son of God. Mary is revered
today above all women, for she willingly took on the greatest
responsibility that can be imagined. Even if leaders delegate, the
leader must take responsibility for the results. As Peter Drucker so
powerfully put it—“leadership is responsibility.”
Leaders listen and then respond appropriately.
Lydia listened and responded to the message of the Way. (Acts 16:11-15,
40) Lydia was a business woman in a man’s world—which explains
her presence in Philippi where she met Paul who was no doubt surprised
that his first European convert would be a woman. Lydia listened, was
converted, and then acted so that she became an influence and a force
for Christianity. Two of my own quotations say it well: (1)
“Appropriate action requires careful listening” and (2) “Leaders must be
Leaders willingly elevate others to further the
mission of an organization. Priscilla–the wife of Aquila—helped
Apollos take the limelight to further the mission. (Acts 18:1-3, 24-28)
Three times in his writings (Rom 16:3; 1 Cor 16:19: 2 Tim 4:19) Paul
mentioned this great woman who along with Aquila graciously stepped
back so their student, Apollos, could take the limelight and become an
influential preacher of the Word. Priscilla was a true servant who
showed her willingness to elevate others for the good of the mission of
spreading the gospel. In this way, Priscilla reminds us of John the
Baptist (see January 2014 Column) who was willing, for the good of the
mission, to let another take the limelight.