Many preachers–myself included–have lamented the loss of men and manliness in the American true. While this loss is true and lamenting it appropriate, it’s helpful to know it isn’t a new problem. In studying Acts 16 and the conversion of Lydia, I came across the following quote from John Dick’s Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles:
Paul addressed “the women, which resorted thither,” declaring to them first the doctrine of salvation. Had any men been present, the historian, we presume, would have mentioned them, and the Apostle woudl not have confined his discourse to the women. There were undoubtedly men in Philippi, who professed the Jewish religion; but it has been remarked, to the honour of the female sex, that they often excel us in the punctuality with which they perform the duties of religious worship, and in the ardour of their devotion, in consequence, perhaps, of their being less distracted by the business and commerce of the world, or of the greater warmth of their affections. Women ministered to our Saviour during his humiliation upon earth; women first visited his sepulchre in the morning of his resurrection; women performed good offices to the Apostles, and assisted them in their labours; and a woman was the first in Philippi who embraced the Christian faith.
So while we call the men to lead in spirituality, let us also take care to encourage and honor the women of the church who faithfully pursue Christ passionately, even when their husbands do not. And let all the men realize that the problem of abandoning spiritual leadership is one of the deepest parts of the curse from which Jesus rescued us.