Carolyn Custis James
Female empowerment has been a major topic in the west for decades. Women have made so much progress that journalist Tom Brokaw predicted the twenty-first century will be known as “the Century of women.” Long before the changes for women that we are witnessing today, the Bible already had a lot to say about female empowerment—and not just through the stories of legendary leaders such as Judge Deborah, the inspiration for J4 Leaders.
One of the strongest leadership role models in the Bible was a woman least likely to be recognized as the extraordinary leader she proved to be. She wasn’t even Jewish! Ruth the Moabitess shows just how subversive God in reaching into the margins and choosing a woman no one would suspect to lead a major kingdom mission. Her entire resume disqualified her for leadership and actually put her at risk. She was female in a patriarchal culture, widowed, barren, gentile, impoverished, a novice to the faith, and an undocumented immigrant. Once in Bethlehem, empowered by her faith in God, this ezer-warrior became a common gleaner, scavenging for leftover grain in Bethlehem’s barley fields to keep her despairing mother-in-law and herself alive. No suspected God was working through her bold innovative initiatives to transform the lives of Boaz and Naomi, to rock all Bethlehem, and to advance his purposes for the entire world. But that’s exactly what he did.
Read Ruth’s full empowering story in Finding God in the Margins: The Book of Ruth.