It is Women’s History Month and there are many examples of courage, ingenuity, faith, and more to be found if we pay attention to the contributions of women. We find in the Bible are tremendous examples of women’s accomplishments and contributions as well as incredible lessons that these ancient women’s stories can teach us. If applied to our business, the precepts us can help us become successful.
In Joshua 2:1 – 24 we find Rahab. She was asked to spy for soldiers so that they could gain the upper hand in the war. While this may have been a very dangerous thing for her to do, she thought of the benefit her actions would be for the welfare of her family. After carefully considering her options, in the end, she agreed to take action if they would guarantee the safety of her family. By striking the bargain, Rahab ensured her safety and that of her family. The lesson learned is be thoughtful, be shrewd and take action based on the desire to help and serve others. Most of all, don’t let fear of the ask keep you from taking aciton. In this case it was Rahab’s family that was the basis her actions.
In 2 Samuel we meet Rizpah who was one of the many concubines belonging to King Saul. As so often happened throughout history, she found herself put in a position of protecting her sons. Unfortunately, she couldn’t protect them in life, but was determined to protect their corpses when they are executed during a political coup.
Rizpah showed tremendous tenacity and temerity when King David refused to bury her sons after their execution. She made the courageous decision to stay with their bodies until he did. Hers was a demonstration of determination in the face of his refusal to even hear her pleas. But she had no intentions of leaving the bodies of her sons out in the elements to be desecrated by animals and birds. In the end, she prevailed and King David, after months of refusing her request, allowed her to claim their bodies.
We should all have the same determination when it comes to success in our business. Think of success as if it were King David – elusive, difficult to reach and steadfast in his refusal. However, like Rizpah, we should never give up until success is on our side. Reference 2 Samuel 3:1, 6-7 and 21:1 – 14 for more of Rizpah’s story.
For a story of wit and quick-thinking, we don’t have to go any further than Exodus where we see Miriam, young sister of Moses, save him from death by weaving a boat of rushes and then sailing her brother down river for the Pharaoh’s daughter to find. The same acumen she showed in saving her baby brother is the same characteristic we need to show as we develop customers and grow our business. She was quick-witted, resourceful and probably coachable as we can assume her mother also urged her to find a way to save her brother.
Miriam later demonstrated loyalty by staying in the Pharaoh’s court as her brother grew up, an example of the type of loyalty we should have for our customers. No business can flourish unless the CEO possess some of the same characteristics as Miriam.
Ancient times didn’t allow for women to do anything other than act as the keeper of the “hearth” or the concubine or even the prostitute. But women did have other roles during Biblical times, although it must have been extremely difficult for them in such obviously male dominated societies.
One example of a female run business, however, is that of Priscella. She and her husband ran their own successful tent-making business, according to Luke. She later became one of the early ministers of the Church being assigned the task by Paul of helping to grow the early Church. Just as she must have been an expert tent-maker she became an expert at spreading the early Gospel and an expert at Jesus words and his life.
Priscella very clearly shows us that we should not be afraid to speak up about our business, just as she was not afraid to speak up about the teachings of Jesus. Imagine if the disciples didn’t have people such as Priscella to help them spread the word. The early church may not have grown as quickly or reached as far as it did. You cannot be afraid to speak up about your business. Find ways to spread the word – to market – your business. it cAttend networking events, become a speaker. These are ways to gain customers.
Athaliah, who is written about in 2 Kings 10:12 – 27 and 11:1 – 16, is an example of a woman who dared to be bold at a time when few women had any power at all. Like Athaliah, be bold in your business. Go against the grain and the odds. Be willing to think out side the box and believe that you can break the glass ceiling as you grow your business.
What did she do? Athaliah took command of a kingdom, something unheard of for a woman in her society.. There are conflicting stories about how she gained control, but suffice it to say, she didn’t leave her power to chance. She didn’t underestimate her abilities as we so often do our own.
When all the men of her family had been killed it is thought she may have been spared because she was merely a woman and therefore had not power and was of little consequence. Athaliah didn’t let what others believed about her dictate what she did. Because of that, she gained the throne and ruled a kingdom.
Be empowered regardless of the stories you hear from others that tells us just the opposite.
The lessons to be learned from these women and other women in the Bible are not just for women, but for anyone who is an entrepreneur and willing to take the risk of starting something new and ultimately making a difference in the world. In fact, you can’t help but wonder what these women would have accomplished had they been our contemporaries. After all, they were movers and shakers against a multitude of odds. The external odds are not as prevalent today, but the internal odds, doubt, timidity, hesitation, lack of faith and fear – remain a part of being human and part of what often holds us keeps us from success.
Do you think you have the same determination and boldness when it comes to your business that these women in the Bible had? Think of when you showed tenacity or were not afraid to speak up about your business. What examples come to mind? I would love to hear your comments and tell me if you identify with any these women in any way.
Until next time, continue to take steps of excellency and you will leave behind a trail of greatness.
Ashley Lounds Brooks