Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Little Mission Field In The Big Woods

The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things...that they may admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed. Titus 2: 3-5

"No other success can compensate for failure in the home" was the saying that adorned a sampler I stitched years ago with the picture of a cozy, cottage-like house on it with smoke curling out of the chimney. It resembled the quaint little house my grandmother used to live in. The framed sampler hung above my kitchen table as a much-needed reminder of the value of my work as a stay-at-home mother. There is a lot of truth in that simple little saying.

Unfortunately, success in the home seems to be the last thing on the minds of many women today. It seems they would rather be anywhere other than at home. They run from one place to the next, always finding somewhere else to go, always looking for fulfillment outside the home. In doing so, the most important mission field of all, the home, is pushed aside, neglected and forgotten.

God often brings unsaved people to our home mission fields, through family members, friends, or friends of our children, which gives us a unique opportunity to touch the lives of each person who passes through our doorway. We have a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with others as they see our faith lived out in our homes. If we are always focused on things away from home, vital ministry opportunities will be lost.

Though caring for things in the home often has little importance in the lives of women today, God's word affirms the importance of a woman's role in the home. God entrusted us with the care of our homes and loved ones. Being wives, mothers, and homemakers should be seen as blessings, not burdens. In Titus 2: 4-5 the older women are instructed to teach the younger women several things, and one of those things is to be homemakers, "so that the word of God may not be blasphemed." God's word is blasphemed when we profess to be Christians, but fail to walk in obedience to what His word tells us to do. Many unbelievers want nothing to do with the church and the Christian faith because of the hypocrisy of those who profess to be believers, but fail to live out their faith. Through scripture we learn that caring for the home is one way for a woman to live out her faith.

The Proverbs 31 woman was a skilled home manager and looked well to the ways of her household. It is interesting to see how she cared for the things inside her home before pursuing other things. This certainly does not mean women should only do things inside the home or not have jobs outside the home, but it does bring to light the importance and priority of women caring for their homes and loved ones before being involved with things outside the home.

This is not a popular topic today. From elementary school through high school, young girls are encouraged to focus on career and education. This is so embedded in our culture today that the young girl who would desire to be a wife, mother, and homemaker without a career would be looked down upon. We don't teach our daughters that it is okay to pursue homemaking, and instead we push them down the career path exclusively. There is nothing wrong with girls pursuing careers, but we also must teach them the importance of homemaking and the value of the home as an important mission field. Many young girls today lack homemaking skills and have no idea how to manage a home. Sadly, many have never seen it modeled in their mothers, and what they have seen modeled is discontentment with being at home and a focus on things outside the home. The older women are so busy and caught up in their own lives that they don't have time to teach the younger women anything, and tragically the things some older women would teach the younger women would be far from biblical truth.

I wonder how often have we bought into the world's way of thinking rather than listening to what God's word says about our roles as women? How often do we live selfishly in pursuit of what we desire rather than what God desires for us? Are we content in our homes, seeing them as our primary area of ministry? What are we teaching our young daughters regarding how to manage a home?

We must prayerfully seek God's wisdom daily, taking seriously our roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers, and remember the importance of the home as our greatest mission field. We can have great success outside the home in many areas, but if we fail at home, we have failed. No other success will ever compensate for failure in the home.

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