What seemed like a typical gathering of women at an Atlanta hotel one Friday morning took a delightful twist.
Fourteen ladies representing women in the Southern Baptist Convention were meeting to discuss how to involve women in more ministries at all levels of denominational life. However, something else of historic proportion was happening. We were having a baby!
As the meeting began, one member of the Women’s Ministry Advisory Council announced that her water broke.
Rhonda Harrington Kelley
Huh? Well, not her water, but the water of her expectant daughter who would be giving birth any minute now. Cellphone updates buzzed in throughout the meeting: On the way to the hospital. In the delivery room. Six inches dilated. Amidst the business agenda, we all celebrated when our friend’s baby girl gave birth to a baby girl!
Men are definitely different than women. Only a gathering of women would share the details of childbirth while conducting serious business and not feel at all uncomfortable. Men typically don’t talk about personal things that openly.
When God created human beings, He created male and female in His image with different roles and personalities. He gave women childbearing responsibility as well as relational natures and emotional feelings. God also gave to those women who choose to follow Jesus the gift of salvation and the ability to share the gospel with those in need of redemption. So, Christian women can be a part of the physical and spiritual birth of others.
Old Testament scriptures proclaim the sanctity of life, as the psalmist sings of the miracle of physical birth in Psalm 139:13–16. God forms the inward parts of a baby in the womb of its mother and sees the substance of its being before the baby is born. God fashions the days of the baby and writes them all down in His book. Praise the Lord God for His mighty works of human creation! You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
A newborn baby is a perfect reminder of the awesome creative power of God Almighty. Our women’s team received an email photo of our friend’s granddaughter who was pronounced “the most beautiful baby in the world.” Cherub cheeks. Tiny nose. Ten fingers and ten toes. A dark brown head of hair. All parts of that perfectly created human life which enters the world from the womb of a mother are a testimony of the physical life given only by God.
The New Testament introduces spiritual rebirth through the Messiah Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself shares the truth of the gospel that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, NKJV).
How can one be born again? Believers speak about their faith to unbelievers who hear and receive the Good News. Jesus explained the Gospel clearly and simply in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV). New birth takes place in a human life when one accepts Jesus as personal Savior and follows Him as Lord. Physical life is created by God through woman, while spiritual life is given by God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A new believer is a “babe in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1–3). A spiritual babe in Christ must mature spiritually in the same way that a newborn baby must mature physically. A baby cannot eat meat until she has been fed milk. She cannot walk until she has learned to crawl. All babies must grow and develop physically.
In a similar way, all Christians must grow and develop spiritually. Baby Christians begin to grow as they develop spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, service and witnessing. Women who give physical life care for their children and help them grow physically into healthy human beings. Christian women who share the gospel with others have the responsibility to encourage their spiritual growth.
It was a blessing to share the joy of our friend at the physical birth of her granddaughter. We rejoiced together and spread the news of God’s miracle of life. Her family grew as another person was added to the population.
Let this spontaneous celebration of physical birth remind us of the joy we should experience with the spiritual birth of anyone who trusts Jesus as personal Savior. When someone is saved, another member is added to God’s family for all eternity. Every Christian should speak the gospel to lost family members and friends. Let’s have a baby!
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Rhonda Harrington Kelley is chairwoman for the SBC Women’s Ministry Advisory Council and adjunct professor of women’s ministry who also leads the Ministry Wife Program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where her husband Chuck serves as president. This article first appeared in SBC LIFE, newsjournal of the SBC Executive Committee.)