3 Ways Men & Women Can Work Together
Imagine going to your next corporate training at work and hearing this: “Today’s goal is to develop strategies for how we can better love and honor each other in this company.” Would your jaw hit the floor?
Yet this is exactly what the Bible calls us to do at work. And in the church. And in our work at church.
“Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another.” (Romans 12:10, CSB)
Love and honor. If this sounds like the start of a wedding vow to you, read that verse again. Notice who is being addressed.
Brothers and sisters.
The church is a family — a family on a mission. We are brothers and sisters working together for the glory of God and the spread of His kingdom, inviting those who don’t know him yet.
So that means we are called to work alongside our brothers and sisters in the church in a posture of love and honor.
Let’s moonwalk (for those under 40 read: walk backward) through Romans 12 to better understand the context of the command in verse 10.
“Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way….According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts…” (Romans 12:4–6)
In order for the body of Christ to function at peak performance, every part, every person, needs to be doing what he or she was created to do for the good of the whole.
Do you know what your spiritual gift is? Paul lists a few for us here in Romans 12:6–8, such as prophecy, service, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy. There are also other lists, such as in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4.
The Lord doesn’t discriminate in His gift-giving — He gives gifts equally to men and women. He doesn’t reserve some gifts just for men or others just for women. Each gift is given according to God’s grace (v. 6) with intentionality. Using our gifts brings glory to the Giver!
But there are some very real challenges that face us as brothers and sisters. Let’s look at three of those challenges and what Romans 12 says our response should be.
1️⃣ In a culture that over-sexualizes every interaction between men and women, many of us don’t have a context for co-laboring with members of the opposite gender at church. To protect us from temptation, the church can over-correct to the point of separating genders in the context of ministry.
BUT… Can the parts of a body be protected from each other? Could a body function if certain parts were kept away from the others? No!
So how do brothers and sisters work together for the sake of the gospel so that we honor the Lord and each other without objectifying the opposite gender? Romans 12:1 tells us that we offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God in every moment. When we live to please the Lord and not ourselves, we will be living in His will and not sin against each other.
2️⃣ In a culture that pits the genders against each other in a power struggle, that struggle sneaks into our hearts, roots itself, and shows up in the church. Instead of cheering each other on in the use of our gifts, we can become competitive with one another for our “rights.”
BUT… Can the parts of a body fight each other for dominance? Would that benefit a body in any way? No!
So how can we work for one another’s good instead of only our own? Romans 12:3 tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we should. Ouch! Put aside the pride that will lead us to fight for ourselves or our gender and, instead, promotes the good of the whole body.
3️⃣ In a culture where the strong are praised and take advantage of the weak, the church can perpetuate this thinking without realizing it. It is tempting to value gifts that we can see on stage as more important than gifts of mercy, service, or encouragement. And once we start thinking of “stage gifts” as more important than anything else, it is easy to make allowances for people with those gifts to behave badly as long as they are great on stage.
BUT…Can the strongest parts of a body ignore the weaker parts or take credit for what it is that they do? No!
So how can we ensure that we are all using our spiritual gift with upright character and honor each other as more important than ourselves? Romans 12:9–10 says to “love…without hypocrisy. Detest evil….love one another deeply….Take the lead in honoring one another.” Sisters and brothers with “upfront” gifts cannot be exempt from good character and deep love any more than brothers and sisters with “behind the scenes” gifts.
Today, let’s challenge ourselves to be people who champion one another. Let’s work together to use our gifts for God’s glory and His kingdom!