images-76By Elizabeth Burns

Marked for eternity. What does this mean? What is this mark? Can this mark be seen now by me? By others? Or, is it something that can only be seen in heaven, in the life to come? Is this even something I need to think about now, today, when there are so many other pressing issues that demand my immediate attention and energies?

Like me, your first reaction might be to think this is something we will have all eternity to think about so why take the time and energy to do it today. But upon closer examination, you realize this is something that impacts not just eternity future, but eternity here and now. What began as just a few thoughts has exploded into more thoughts and words than I have time or room for.

Scripture teaches that this ‘mark for eternity’ is given us by God through His Holy Spirit. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (See also Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30). God’s official seal declares ownership and protection and the gift of His Spirit is guarantee of our salvation now and always. We are in God and He is in us. The implications of this truth, the transformational power of this truth, the far-reaching effects of this truth are too weighty and wordy to cover in this short span of time and small bit of space. But there is one aspect of this ‘being marked for eternity’ that I believe timely and applicable to women’s ministries: adoption. Yes, that’s right, adoption.

Remember the precious teaching of Jesus in John’s gospel where He promises not to leave His disciples as orphans but would send another Helper to be with them forever (John 14:16-18). Jesus also speaks of abiding in Him, the True Vine (John 15:1-11), and of the intimacy of our relationship with Him and with the Father: . . .that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you have sent Me. (John 17:21)

When we hear the word ‘orphan’, we naturally think of an infant or young child who has no mother or father, and rightly so. The definition of orphan is: a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents. But adult children who lose both parents are orphans as well. How marvelously has the Father provided for His children as He brings us into a right relationship with Him, a parent/child relationship, to protect us from ourselves and the evil one, giving us an advantage to enjoy life abundant now and forever, to supervise, by His Spirit, our sanctification for He cares for us.

The hallmark of women’s ministries, because we are marked for eternity and bear the imprint of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, should be adoption! Yes, that’s right, adoption. Instead of inviting women to come to a Circle Meeting, church or a Women’s Ministries meeting, invite them into your life! Adopt them into your life. Older women, invite a younger woman, young women, invite an older woman out for coffee, lunch or have them over for dinner. Get to know them and let them get to know you because this is what Women’s Ministries is all about: relationships – not meetings, events, collecting money or finding warm bodies to fill a position. These things are necessary but they are not the heart of ministry.

Each of us is orphaned in some way or another: some lack the advantage of godly relationships or godly families. Some women have lost the advantage of a husband either through death or divorce. Others need godly mentoring, guidance, supervision as they learn how to live for Christ, and which one of us couldn’t use more people in our life who care for us? The Father has brought each of us in, adopted us, into His family, at great expense.

Who will you invite into your life today? If this is something you think you might be interested in but aren’t sure how to start, I invite you call me so we can work on this together.