September 19, 2020 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Exodus 1:17 (NRSV)
“But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live.”
Our work is a witness not so much in what we do, but in how we go about doing it. The midwives are exemplars of agents of life that God sets into motion to usher the life of the Kingdom. Work is the womb where that life is nourished and birthed. They knew the policies that affected people rested in their hands. They did the next right thing. The next right thing is usually the hard thing.
Joseph had died, all his brothers and all that generation. The new king of Egypt did not know Joseph. The daughters and sons of Israel were fruitful and multiplying, which instilled fear of the other in the Egyptian king. He fanned the flame of fear and doubled down on oppression by ordering ruthless labor upon the Israelites. To make matters worse, he ordered Shiphrah and Puah, Hebrew midwives, to kill baby boys and let only baby girls live.
Shiphrah and Puah embodied a holy disobedience and instead, let the boys live.
Shiphrah and Puah operated under a higher power than the law of the king. They utilized their vocation and the work of their hands to enact life and not death. Rather than dis-member sons from mothers’ arms, they re-membered God and placed babies back in their mother’s arms. Even if it meant putting their bodies and livelihoods on the line.
Our work is a witness not so much in what we do, but in how we go about doing it. The midwives are exemplars of agents of life that God sets into motion to usher the life of the Kingdom. Work is the womb where that life is nourished and birthed. They knew the policies that affected people rested in their hands. They did the next right thing. The next right thing is usually the hard thing. The oppression was overwhelming and catastrophic, yet they repurposed it into a catalytic movement. Their faith informed their work ethic. They chose life.
How does your faith inform your work this week?
How is your current work a carrier of life in the community?
In these times of compounded crisis from many sources, pick one issue in your community and mobilize your coworkers to be generous with all of your time, talent and treasure. Be creative!
God of disobedient midwives that chose to obey you, we pray for a radical work ethic governed by your gracious and abounding love. We are overwhelmed by the points of pain in our local communities and globe. Give us eyes to see the need right in our midst. Give us courage to do the next brave thing. Give us passion to reframe these points of pain as places of promise where lives can be changed. Help us midwife your Kingdom through the witness of our work. Grant us grace to bring reprieve from the grief. When pain doubles down, may our love double more. Grant us grace to choose life. Amen.
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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Shiphrah and Puah: Two Ezer Midwives Defy the King (Exodus 1:8-22)
Inés is an ordained pastor, preacher, reconciler, writer, and speaker. We are pleased to feature Inés as a regular Life for Leaders writer.
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