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Archive for October, 2010

Behold, the valet went to retrieve the woman’s purse, and as he gathered it, he pondered that a woman’s life is like a purse.

He came upon the AUSTERE PURSE and raised his brows.  In this purse is found only the barest of necessities.  Driver’s license, money, and maybe a plastic card or two giving the Wegman’s Discount or entrance into the gym.

As the valet continued, he encountered the PLETHORIC PURSE and prepared to lift carefully as he was not wearing a lifter’s belt.  Looking inside this purse is truly an adventure.  Of course there is found inside the driver’s license, money, and a variety of plastic cards.  Perhaps there are old ticket stubs, a box of Kleenex, salt packets, grocery store receipts, make-up, hair brush, comb, and hair pick; last week’s church bulletin or the church phone list, this year’s photo brag book, dental floss, safety pins, enough ink pens to hand out to everyone during prayer time, old to-do lists, an assortment of chewing gums and a first-aid kit.  The PLETHORIC purse might also have a bib and an extra un-opened pacifier, even though the baby-stage is long past. Some of these types of purses also have collapsible cups, a poncho or two, a lighter, and perhaps even one of those silver blankets that are supposed to keep you warm, but seem too thin to actually do anything.  In the truly PLETHORIC purse, you will even find a fuel filter, two packages of instant hot chocolate and a roll of duct tape.

Finally the valet came upon the USEFUL PURSE, and the valet smiled.  Once again, the money, driver’s license and plastic cards.  But also a few coupons for today’s trip to the store, enough make-up to freshen up, pocket package of Kleenex, a single package of gum or breath mints, one hair utensil to get the job done, and a digital photo key chain.

She who has ears, let her hear.

Hear then, the parable of the purse.

The woman who carries the AUSTERE PURSE may be in too much of a hurry to enjoy life.  Her goal is to get there, legally with her driver’s license, pay for her purchase, and get home.  She is not in the mindset for a spontaneous stop to visit with a friend.  She is not prepared for those little emergencies that arise; therefore they become crises.  Her life is organized, but perhaps lacking beauty and wonder.

The woman who wields the PLETHORIC PURSE thinks she’s prepared for everything life throws at her.  She believes she has taken care to have a response for every problem, a cure for every ailment, and a word of encouragement for every down soul she meets.  In fact, she’s continually flustered and frustrated, so she’s ineffective with what she has.  If she could just find that hot chocolate she could have a meaningful visit with a friend.  This woman could be a blessing, but she’s too busy digging around the junk in her life to understand the real needs of those around her so her ministry is usually weak.  She wants to be helpful and available, but her burdensome approach to life is a hindrance to sincere ministry.  She has mistaken stuff for substance.

The woman toting the USEFUL PURSE is not burdened, but prepared.  She knows where she’s going and has the needed items to get the job done.  She is equipped to effectively handle emergencies, to be spontaneous in her response to events of the day, and react sincerely to opportunities for ministry.

So, what’s in your purse?  What is your approach to life, friends, and ministry?  Do you have things so streamlined that your ministry is shallow and your friends feel processed?  Are you so concerned with “getting it right” that you never get down to ministry or friendship?  Or are you the woman with the USEFUL PURSE?  Just ready to fulfill the call the Lord has put on your life, not stripping the call to the bare minimum nor losing the call in the midst of the stuff of life.

Linda Baker

For Women’s Ministry 2010

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