“Dear sisters, if you want to know what a woman is, if you want to know what God has appointed you to do, it’s in the Scriptures!”- Jeff Pollard
Why would we listen to the world about what fulfills a woman and makes them successful, when the world can’t even define what a woman is?
Look at God’s Word. What has God called women to do? What are the Scriptures primarily telling us?
“To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:5 KJV).
“One teaching found both in Scripture and on the consciences of those who do not know Jesus is that married women are to serve their homes. This does not mean that women may never have outside employment, only that they must focus their attentions and energies on their homes — on caring for husband and children, submitting to the former and helping the latter learn to follow the Lord. Many call this old-fashioned and oppressive, but even some unchurched women in our culture know their households should come first. Modern surveys often report that women regret not devoting enough time to their families.” (ligonier.org)
Married women are to be keepers of their homes.
We must be careful not to take the legalist view that says this passage means that married women can never work outside the home, because the Bible never states that. We see that the Proverbs 31 woman sold things in the market place. However, the primary focus of the Proverbs 31 woman was not selling things, but rather her home and her family. She made sure her home was in order and took care of it, first and foremost. We cannot force these passages to say that a woman can never add to the family wealth, nor can we make them a loophole to which we use to live like the rest of the world. While that is a very thin line, the one thing we know for certain is that the Bible tells us that a woman’s primary focus is her home. Not the only sphere in which she can operate and not her exclusive focus, but definitely her primary focus and one that should not be neglected for the pursuit of other things. “Biblical homemaking is what happens when a wife and mother makes her home and family her top priority. Her time, effort, and finances reflect her concern for her family. She has set aside other full-time ventures to dedicate her attention to her husband and children.” (gotquestions.org ). An outside job should never be a woman’s priority and take away from her duties at home. However, the problem is that most full-time jobs do this. An outside job is also not just something that you do, like the world’s way of a woman working, and not something to be done without your husband’s permission.
It’s also important to note that not every woman who does not have an outside job fulfills her duty of being a keeper at home. She can neglect her home for outings and laziness, just as much as a woman who has an outside job can neglect it because of busyness and wrong priorities. “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27 ESV).
Women were given great skills and those skills should go into the oversight of the home. In a previous article, I shared a quote by Martha Peace, from her book, The Excellent Wife, “The wife and mother in a family often ‘sets the tone’ in the home. The ‘tone’ God wants her to set is one of joy, optimism, and a delight in the Lord and in her family.” “Home” should be one of the most appealing words in our minds. A word that reminds us of love, nurture, wisdom, and learning. A woman is responsible for all of that and more. How is that to be accomplished when she is not there? Charles Spurgeon wrote in his commentary of Titus 2:5 that “There is no gain to the Christian Church when the love and the industry and the zeal that ought to make a happy home are squandered upon something else.” Not only is it the home and family that suffer when it is neglected by the wife and mother, but the church as well. When women are faithfully serving their homes and bringing up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, God’s church is advancing.
We often forget that homemaking is a job. Caring for and serving our families, is a full time position. Something that is always done “behind the scenes” and hardly ever gets any glory, which is probably why it is less than appealing to some. But as Christians, everything we do is for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). By joyfully being the homemaker that Scripture tells us to be, we are obeying and glorifying God in the best way that we can.
Being a keeper at home is hard work. While it can often be romanticized or understated, the truth is that it can wear a woman out at times. If we fall for the lie that it is easy, then we will unnecessarily feel like we are failing and are “not good at it” during the hard times. Governing your home does not require perfection; it requires faithfulness and sacrificial love. You are bringing up little sinners. You married a sinner. You are a sinner. Therefore, you will need grace for those in your home and grace for yourself. A Christ-like love is part of the job requirement. Caring for your home can hurt at times, and be tedious at other times. But it will be delightful and exuberant, as well.
An amazing example of a keeper at home is Katharina Von Bora, wife to Martin Luther. We know of Martin Luther best for nailing his 95 theses on the door of the church at Wittenburg and bringing justification by faith alone to light. Something not as highly talked about is that Martin Luther did a lot to reform families. Katharina was not only brought out of the catholic church and her life as nun by listening to Luther teach, but she also was inspired to be dedicated to making and serving her family in the biblical way. She was a fantastic manager of her home and worked hard at it. She was a cook, a nurse, bee keeper, fisher, and brewer. She kept cattle and chickens, and tirelessly fixed up the run down house that she and Luther were gifted as a wedding present. She loved gardening and used those skills to create a garden, which she later sold and then used the proceeds to create an even bigger garden. She was a Proverbs 31 woman.
“Doing what God calls you to do changes history” (Jeff Pollard). Germany underwent major transformation partly due to a hard working woman. By Katharina doing what God called her to do as keeper at home, Luther was able to do what God called him to do.
Katharina reminds us that, unlike the world’s view of it, being a keeper at home isn’t being an ignorant woman that just gets pregnant, and that “the relationship between man and wife is not master and slave, it is king and queen who take dominion over the earth” (Jeff Pollard).
On the other hand, we have Amy Barrett, the current SCOTUS nominee. She is being described as “a woman who has it all”; family and a successful job. This is partly where we fall into wrong thinking. We’ve bought the lie of the world that a woman is not successful unless she has a job, and that a job is the only place where a woman will find fulfillment and identity. The example of Katharina Von Bora shows us that this is simply not true. As Christians, we find our identity in Christ. We find joy and fulfillment when we obey God’s calling for our lives.
An important question must be raised as well – how can a woman with such a demanding job be the keeper at home that she biblically should be? How do you nurture when you are out of the home for 8-10 hours a day? You can’t. You can’t give all to your home and all to your full time job. Something will always suffer, and more often than not, its the home.
“When a woman does not use the many gifts God gives her in making her home a citadel of Christ, a dominion in which the Lord is exalted, in which there is nurture, love, encouragement, warmth, beauty, and all kinds of things, she exposes herself to a number of sins” (Jeff Pollard).
The Bible often describes the “wicked woman” as a woman who is not at home. While not always, the fact that it does at times is something that should be brought into consideration. This is possibly because of the number of situations that can come up that will expose her to sin. Does every woman who has a job outside the home sin because of her job? Probably not. Does the man expose himself to sin when taking a job outside the home? Yes, of course. But that is a whole other subject and this article is about women.
One of these situations is the matter of submission. Because of the fall, women must fight the desire to rule over their husbands. This battle can be harder for a woman who happens to make more money than her husband. It’s often thought of that the one who makes more money is the head of the household. But Scripture does not say that. Scripture tells us that God appointed man head of the household, not “the one who makes more money”. You submit to your husband because he is your husband, not because he makes more money than you do. Another matter that can inadvertently happen, is that your boss can become the head of your household. In a particularly demanding job, a wife will do more of what her boss says instead of what her husband says, and following the boss’s schedule and demands will mean that the household is affected by it as well.
Another issue is relationships. When you spend 8-10 hours with people, you will build relationships with them. Adultery, whether physical or emotional, should be a big concern. Women are more susceptible to fall into this. Does every woman have an affair? Of course not. But it is a real concern and is something that should be guarded against. There is also the danger of bad company. The more you are around others who do not honor God or biblical views, you can find yourself joining in and be increasingly discontented with what God declared is a woman’s role. The bottom line is who do you wish to build better and stronger relationships with – your coworkers or your husband and children?
Pride should also be a concern. Pride and competition to advance in your position. Pride and vanity in your appearance. Pride, of course, can effect anyone in any circumstance. Pride can be an issue with women in keeping their homes, just as much as in the office place. Pride over how clean their house is, or how organic the food is that they feed their children, or even pride about how you homeschool your children. However, the office place can be a particularly brutal place for cultivating the sinful nature of pride.
The biblical family is God’s design and something that should be honored. Unfortunately, the biblical family is increasingly being disregarded, not only by the world, but by professing Christians as well.
We must be aware that enemies are constantly trying to destroy the biblical family and they are succeeding at it. The two ways that they are most effective at this is by getting women out of the home and by getting them to kill their babies. The world promotes killing babies and not having too many because they believe children are burdens and get in the way of a woman’s success. The exact opposite of God’s commands to fill the earth and for women to guard their homes.
The last part of Titus 2:5 tells us that by failing to be a keeper at home, we blaspheme God’s Word. Matthew Henry states “That the word of God be not blasphemed – That the gospel may not be injuriously spoken of, on account of the inconsistent lives of those who profess to be influenced by it. The idea is, that religion ought to produce the virtues here spoken of, and that when it does not, it will be reproached as being of no value.” If married women are failing to be the keepers at home that we are commanded to be, whether that is because an outside job gets in the way or because we are simply eating the bread of idleness, we are showing the world that God’s Word has no value. Instead, let us show the world that the Scriptures have supreme authority, by simply serving our families day in and day out.
A quiet life is good (1 Thessalonians 4:11) and will make more of an impact than we will ever know. God is using you and your role in the home to shape the future. So be faithful to God’s calling, ladies. Faithful as the Israelites as they crossed the red sea. Faithful as Joseph as he was imprisoned for years or Esther as she went before the king. For “a mother who is faithful in the home honors God just as truly as the most self sacrificing missionary” (AW Pink).
“There is no need for [a woman] to strive after new rights, for she can find nothing more noble to do than what she now has, —she has already reached the loftiest mission earth can afford ; she can desire nothing higher, for nothing higher exists.” (The Nassau Literary Magazine, April 1871)
Stop falling for the lies and reaching for “something better”.
There is nothing better than God’s calling.