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Unconventional Leadership by Sive Swartbooi

When we think of strong female leaders in the bible, what often comes to mind is leaders like Zipporah; a watchman and caretaker of her family. Her initiative prompted her to circumcise her child while Moses slept. We may think of leaders like Queen Esther, who gained favour in a foreign land and was able to rescue all of Israel. We may think of women like Deborah; the first and only female judge. Her courage and leadership inspire all women to confront their battle with faith and bravery.

Perhaps you may not relate to such valiant women just yet. Perhaps identity is something that you struggle with, as many of us women do. Perhaps you have allowed your mistakes to define you. If that is you, the Lord is saying “Stand tall”. That same valiant spirit is within you and he wants to call it out of you. From time to time, we all struggle to see the greatness within us but I want to highlight three lessons from an unconventional woman who became great, though she thought herself small.

A sinful woman with an alabaster jar

Matthew 26:6-10

“Now when Jesus was [back] in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very expensive perfume and she poured it on Jesus’ head as He reclined at the table. But when the disciples saw it they were indignant and angry, saying, “Why all this waste [of money]? For this perfume might have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware [of the malice] of this [remark], said to them, “Why are you bothering the woman? She has done a good thing to Me.”

This woman is unknown and unnamed. In the gospel of Luke, The New Living Translation describes her as a “certain immoral woman”. She was a broken woman who had constantly been defined by her mistakes. She came with expensive perfume, worth almost one-year’s wages, to anoint Jesus’ body. Her very presence made the self-righteous individuals extremely upset and uncomfortable. But Jesus, full of mercy and kindness welcomed her with open arms. He called her by her name and gladly defended her. What leadership lessons do we see from her?

1. Remain humble – she came humbly before Jesus, fully aware of her reputation and mistakes. Jesus saw her and acknowledged her. Wherever we find ourselves ladies, let us always remember that we are in need of His grace just like this woman was. When she humbled herself, he honoured her by forever cementing her name in the greatest story ever told, The Good News of Jesus Christ.

James 4:10

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”

Mark 14:9

“And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her”

2. Worship in every circumstance – Her sacrifice was a sweet aroma to Jesus. She did not wait for ideal circumstances to worship. She did not wait for anybody to leave the room. She worshiped where she was. As leaders we sometimes look for an appropriate time to glorify Jesus, but Jesus is saying worship where you are. Praise him in your lunch break, praise him in corporate spaces, praise him in the classroom. Worship right where you are and do it unashamed.

Psalms 34:1

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Psalms 150:1

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven!”

3. Approach your platform with boldness – A lot of times God will elevate us and bless us in ways we could never understand. It is called the favour of God. Do we deserve it? Most certainly not but being God's daughter means enjoying the privilege of having Him lavish us with great gifts. One of the ways he blesses us is to give us platforms for His glory. We as women sometimes don’t realize that it is God Himself who put us in positions of power and so we walk around with imposter-syndrome. We are not imposters. In fact, just like Queen Esther, you have been divinely brought before great men and women for His purposes.

The sinful woman was brought before important men and women because Jesus needed someone to anoint his body. Out of all the “qualified” men and women in his midst, he chose her to do it. A nameless, sinful woman from Bethany. Daughter, you have every right to be in those boardrooms, in that management position, as a CEO. God has chosen you and elevated you for His glory.

Proverbs 18:16

"A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great."

Be blessed Lady-Leader,


Women of Reverence welcomes guest blogger Sive Swartbooi.

Sive is an artist and entrepreneur residing in Johannesburg, South Africa. The day her life changed was the day she realized that God was asking us the same question he asked Gideon in Judges 6, "What is in your hand?" It was then she realized that she has the tools to make an impact and that she was destined to lead in a way that only she could.

She has a passion for art, fashion and food. She also loves encouraging women to normalize standing out and standing tall in their area of gifting.

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