So we're doing a free promotion on my wife's book, Faith and Finance: Peace With or Without Prosperity, and I just noticed she got a 1-star review because of an Appendix. Isn't that just the way things are? Ignore the main theme and purpose of the book (finding peace in your current financial state by understanding the promises of God regarding provision), and focus on a small part you disagree with.
Regardless, I was wondering what you all thought of the appendix, so here it is:
PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE FREE BOOK HERE (and if you like leave a nice review ): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005JFBO6U/
Working Women in the Bible
Let’s take a deeper look at what God says about women who work in case you too are plagued with questions, or the guilt that inevitably comes with this topic.
1. THE WIFE WITH NO CHILDREN AT HOME
I remember my early years of marriage before we had any children. I was able to get all the laundry, the housework, all the cooking and shopping done and still have time to go off gallivanting around somewhere. Some women are in a position where they have no children to guide or oversee.
God does not give any extra commands to the wife with no children at home other than that she is to be a help to her husband and that she is a keeper at home. If her husband would appreciate her help financially in those years of marriage (and she is able to keep up with her responsibilities at home and still have the energy to be her husband’s companion when he is home) then the wife is not outside the bounds of the Bible to do so. She is obeying her husband and is indeed his “help.”
If the husband would like her to work at this time of life, then she should obey her husband first and foremost. While I seriously question the wisdom of working closely with another male (due to high statistical percentage of workplace affairs), a wife is still in subjection to her own husband, as an umbrella headship, while working “under” a male employer if the husband so deems.
1Pe 3:1, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”
If her husband has not asked her to work, then from my experience she will have about twenty or so hours a week “free” once she has completed her household responsibilities. This would be a wonderful opportunity for this wife to minister in ways in which others would not have an opportunity; what a blessing.
Some things this wife could do:
Lodge strangers: – I Tim 5:10 (Hospitality ministry to missionaries and this may even include foster children.)
Relieve the afflicted: – I Tim 5:10 (Help those who are ill, home bound, widows, mothers who have just delivered and can’t keep up with household responsibilities, children/ teens who need a friend or role model, and I’m sure there are many more)
Stretching out your hands to the poor and needy. – Prov 31:20 (making special dinners, offering to watch children, making up a special birthday or Christmas treat for those who are struggling financially. The opportunities are only limited by your creativity.)
2. THE MOTHER
To the lady who marries and bears children, God has outlined to her a role that includes additional responsibilities.
Love your children and be a keeper at home: Tit 2:4 – 5, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, V5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Guide the house: 1Ti 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
Good works: 1Ti 5:10, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.”
So many women feel that as long as their children are taken care of by their family or someone they trust that they are fulfilling their responsibility of “guiding the house.” Yet, they are not the “keeper” of their children and they certainly aren’t “at home.”
Others take care of their children while their husband is at work and rather than being their husband’s companion, lover, and help when he gets home, they instead hurry out to their job and leave the care of their children in their tired husband’s hands rather than sharing the care of their children together as a team after a long day’s work for both of them.
You cannot be fulfilling your God-given role as an help meet for your husband, guide of your house, and keeper at home while having your children being cared for by someone other than you. You have these wonderful blessings and then give them over to someone else to raise. They without a doubt will not receive the love or training the way in which only their mother can provide.
While studying this out and discussing the topic among Christian women, I found consistent views as to why women get a career. Not every woman who works is enrolled in the women’s liberation movement. Some honestly have sincere intentions and are operating according to “worldly wisdom.”
What is so scary about worldly wisdom is that it makes sense, but it smacks at the face of Scripture. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) Just because it seems to make sense, doesn’t mean that it is not a ploy of the devil to undermine our homes and trust in God’s word.
Was this not Satan’s ploy with Eve? He played upon her weakness of being easily deceived (I Tim. 2:14) and caused her to doubt God’s word.
These are the most common reasons I found for working mothers.
a. “In case” something happens to the husband. For instance; the death of a husband, a husband’s physical disability, the husband having an erratic income, or the possibility of divorce. (I would like to note that if a house is running in God’s order and family devotions with consistent church attendance and submission to God is in the home, divorce is statistically 75% less likely to take place.)
You know how in II Corinthians 8:8 Paul says, “I speak not by commandment…” Well, I’m going to take the same liberty here and give some personal advice. You will see later that the virtuous woman did indeed have a trade. She was a seamstress who made girdles at home in the evening hours and then delivered them to her buyers. Priscilla worked alongside her husband as a tentmaker. I have trade qualifications for being a bookkeeper, piano teacher, and a counselor. There is nothing wrong with having a career option. The problem is the careers that today’s women are choosing.
What is foolish is to have an inflexible trade. If a woman puts herself into a box where to make money she must work outside of the home and leave her children in the care of others, than she is making a choice that is not supported by Scripture. I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that gives an exclusion for a mother working outside of the home regardless of whether it is part-time work or full-time work. Children are to be under the care of their mother.
(That being said, I do know that there are women who will remain single and should duly prepare to support themselves financially, but I still think that that is statistically the exception to the rule. We should prepare to operate according to the rule; not the exception.)
Teach your daughters a trade that can be done from the home with flexible hours, but by all means, please take note that the virtuous woman took care of her family first and foremost and her work was at a sacrifice to her own personal time, not at the sacrifice of her husband’s, and children’s time.
There are women who take their best energy and dedicate it to their career and leave the children with scraps. Children are carted around all day while the mother makes her “deliveries.” While the mother is catching up on her calls, the children are wandering around idly and aimlessly and bring shame upon their mother. Mom is typing away and the children are climbing up on her lap saying, “Are you almost done?”
A mother’s job is to guide her home, be a keeper at home, and to love her children and husband. She is to be a minister of good works. If there is a trade involved, it must come absolutely, without a doubt, last in the equation.
b. The husband requires the wife to work. (In which case, the wife must obey her husband.)
c. The wife wants “extras:” better clothes, vacations, nicer cars, a nicer home, better nails and hair.
If the first point was the most subtle of all Satan’s tricks to deceive the mother into putting a career out of God’s priority placement; this is the most pervasive. We cannot go anywhere without being a marketing target. I write much more on this subject of covetousness later, but we are all subject to its powers outside of daily crucifixion and reliance upon prayer and God’s word.
Here are some verses that have helped me to keep my priorities in check.
1Jn 2:15 -17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. V16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. V17. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Mat 6:19 – 21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: V20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: V21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Mat 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. V25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
d. The wife has more earning potential, and chooses to switch roles for the sake of more money or financial security.
The truth is that some men just do not have as much earning power or initiative as their wives. Some women’s trades or careers could earn two to three times as much as their husband’s. It seems so easy to have the husband watch the children, or a babysitter watch them while mom works a few days a week.
We women sacrifice peace when we leave our children behind for hours and find ourselves feeling guilty and insecure about our choices in this area. We sacrifice our God-given peace oft times just for financial security. We enjoy knowing that our bills are being paid faster; our securities are growing as we would like; and we may be able to enjoy a vacation now and then.
What we don’t realize is that we are hampering our own spiritual growth and our husband’s growth in the Lord as we would do the following:
Learn to be content (Phil 4:11)
Be salt to the earth as we have joy with less (Matt 5:13)
Increase our faith (Luke 17:5)
Bring God glory as His gracious sufficiency is known in our life and His power is shown in our lives. (2 Cor 12:9)
Those men who know their wife is more of a “powerhouse” financially have an uphill battle. It is a hard job to be a leader. It is a hard job to face the insecurities of decision-making, diligent prayer and Bible reading, and leaning upon the Lord for direction. Who wants to do more hard work?
Sometimes life is like boot camp for the husband / soldier. He is going to have to be forced by exterior circumstances to grow, break down his muscles, and find a supernatural strength from God to overcome all his natural weaknesses.
Imagine if a wife walked into the boot camp and said, “Hey, I’ve been working out a lot recently. Let me just step in for a few days and …” All would be lost.
Women, what we need to do is get down on our knees and cry out, “God, I’m terrified that if I step down he will never step up. Even if he does step up, will we be poor forever? Yet, You promised that if we delight ourselves in You that You will give us the desires of our heart. You promised that the man that trusts in You will be happy. I believe; help thou mine unbelief. I trust that You will make my husband the best conduit of provision that You can and most of all I will trust Your timing.”
Turn your back on your own understanding and trust God’s word. Let your husband grow.
2Co 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Keep in mind that if a husband is out of work, but the household is in order, God is bound by His word to provide for your food, raiment and what He deems as your need. God does have a way. God gains glory through the charity of other Christians. In times of hardship, Christians have lived together, worked together, and shared hand-me-downs and food. Maybe this is God’s solution for you.
e. The wife does not want to bear her responsibility and learn to be the homemaker that she is commanded to be. Being a wife and mother is hard work, and it is much easier to be responsible for duties other than training little lives and souls.
We were not all trained well to do the following:
Teach our children to behave and be responsible, while controlling our emotions and showing love.
Cook well or nutritiously and to meet our families’ tastes.
Be hospitable and open our homes to those in need.
Be frugal, or giving, or to guard our tongues to speak with wisdom and kindness
Take care of our bodies to be realistically attractive to our husbands
Communicate with respect and give reverence to our husbands (whether he has earned it or not).
Suck up our feelings of entitlement when our emotional needs are not met and we are left home alone.
Yet, this is our job. If you are better at your home business than you are at running your home you need to take a look in God’s word and in your heart and ask for God’s help in becoming more like what HE would have you to be.
The Bible does not say we are to be keepers of our home (that is the husband’s job). We are to be keepers at home.
Pro 7:11, “(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:”
Tit 2:4 – 5, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
1Ti 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
f. The woman wants “her own identity.”
1Co 6:19 -20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
I understand it is difficult and you feel looked down upon when you are “just a mother” and even though people tout “being a stay-at-home mom is the hardest job there is,” they still look at you as only a “stay-at-home mom.”
We find our joys in learning our children, being a better cook, keeping an orderly house, conquering the most recent child misbehavior, and spending time with our husband. When do we have any time for our hobbies, or our interests?
There is a profound truth with which all mothers should become acquainted. This is our identity: servant. It’s a humble identity, but we rub shoulders with the very best.
Heb 3:5, “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;”
Jas 1:1, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.”
2Pe 1:1, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:”
Jud 1:1, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:”
Rev 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:”
Tit 1:1, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;”
Col 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
AND CHRIST HIMSELF
Php 2:7 - 8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: V8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Christ was an obedient servant and took up His cross. Yet, our cross is nothing in comparison. We get kisses, snuggles, toddler language, baby giggles, tales from pre-teens, long talks with teenagers, and an occasional nap. What a blessing!
We were never promised an identity outside of Christ. We shouldn’t seek one. If you are able to hand out tracts and pray for others in your devotional life you have made an eternal difference outside your home without ever leaving your home responsibilities.
Let’s look at the last two common reasons a woman gets a career. These situations are outside the scenario of God’s traditional family, but as with the situation of the widow, they are not outside of God’s provision. God can use other Christians to help “fill in the gap” when a mother has more than her God given responsibilities to fulfill as the woman tries her best to be a virtuous woman.
g. The woman is a single mom.
h. The husband is negligent in his stewardship.
1Ti 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
So that being said, I would like to follow the next train of thought. If we are not to lean upon our own understanding, but to trust in God’s word, then what reasons or examples does the Bible give to promote women who work?
3. WOMEN IN THE BIBLE
Jdg 4:4 – 5, “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.”
Israel was in rebellion, going to Kedesh was a one-time thing, and God made sure to tell us that it was a man’s job. It was a shame to Barak that he did not do his duty.
If your husband is in rebellion and asks you to go outside your God-given role, then obey your husband. God will hold him accountable and it will be a shame upon him. But please, do not be contentious and point this out to him. Pray and let God work on his heart. There is just nothing worse than a clamorous, proud, self-righteous woman preaching at her husband.
Rth 2:2, “And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.”
Ruth did work, but Ruth was not married. She was a young widow and God used her family to provide for her, which is biblical, but God still said that a younger widow should “marry, bear children, and guide the house” (I Timothy 5:14) and that is what Ruth did. (Ruth 4:17)
1Ti 5:3 – 5, “Honour widows that are widows indeed. V4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. V5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”
1Ti 5:14, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
The Virtuous Woman
The virtuous woman is the modern Christians guide for the “Super Mom.” She had it all, did it all, dressed well, and had a popular husband. On top of it all, her family appreciated all her hard work. The list of her activities is non-stop. She …
Shops for Groceries / Clothing / Materials: She searched earnestly for the goods of their household. V.12-14
Cooks and serves her household. V.15
From the context of V13, 19, 21-22, and 24: Works into the night (possibly after her children are asleep) and makes linen, clothing for her children, and girdles at home. Later she delivers the sale of the girdles to the merchants.
Looketh well to the ways of her household V.27
Her children call her blessed V.28
Her husband was not at home with the children, he was in a place of leadership in the city. V.23
Sigh! “When in the world are we supposed to get all this done?”
Well, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Sometimes we find ourselves getting so caught up in being perfect right now that we don’t see that we don’t have to be everything right now. This lady could easily have begun gardening after her children were grown. She may even have started selling girdles in her later years. Still, she may have done it all while her children were growing up.
The passage remains the same; no where does the Bible say the virtuous woman worked outside the home. Even more so, it is evident that she took care of her children, their clothes, and the food preparation of the home first and foremost. Boy, isn’t that convicting to us stay-at-home mothers that she did her “extra” work in the evening?
On a side note: I know that some say that she was in “real estate” because she bought a field, but that is like using the analogy that she owned or ran a Farmers Market because she bought her groceries. What it does show is that she was wise and trustworthy in her husband’s eyes in regard to purchases of all sizes. Please don’t allow yourself to slip into this rationalization. It is just not there.
Priscilla and Aquila
Act 18:2-3, “And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.”
We don’t know much about this family. We don’t know if they had children, but what we do see is that Priscilla worked with Aquilla. She helped her husband in the family business.
Act 16:14 -15, “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”
Again, we don’t know much about this woman. We don’t know if she was married, if she had children or if she lived with her parents. We don’t know where she made the “purple,” but we do know that she sold it. As the virtuous woman made merchandise for home and only delivered her sale, there is nothing that would cause me to assume that she was out on the marketplace all day.
A Word of Encouragement
If at this point you find yourself a little scared, uncertain, defensive, or annoyed, please take a moment to pray. God will heap grace and become a balm that soothes. One thing I know for certain is that we women are full of emotion, both good and bad. Sometimes we just need to take a few steps back and be open to do some personal study and prayer and let the Holy Spirit lift our fog of emotions to see a little more clearly. I know that I don’t explain things perfectly, but God’s word becomes plain to those who seek the truth.
Take some time to discuss these Scriptures with your husband, and earnestly pray that God will work His will in your life. As we yield to Scripture and rest upon God’s understanding we will find that the fruit of the Spirit begins to well inside of us.
Those negative emotions of the flesh give way to the peace and joy of the Spirit and we begin to feel praise inside for the truth of God’s word. We can rest knowing that because of our submission to God’s word, He is bound to be faithful for our provision. (Matt 6:33, Luke 12:24, Phil 4:19) You will still have food, raiment, and all your need met even while staying at home with your children.