Should A Christian Mother Work Outside the Home? (Part 6)
Here is the conclusion to our weeklong series on the appropriateness of Christian women working outside the home.

In our prior lesson, we started considering a list of 37 things a homemaker can do. In addition to reading the Bible daily, praying daily, fasting regularly, memorizing Scripture, laboring to win souls to Christ, studying with other Christian women weekly, and preparing devotionals for her children, a homemaker can...

  1. Serve in a ministry in the local church or perhaps in several different areas of service that she is both interested and gifted in. Do you serve in a ministry right now? "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31).

  2. Home educate your children. Do you homeschool? With the fathers working to provide for the family, the rearing of children is the foremost job of a mother. Children have been educated at home for the vast majority of human history. It is much easier to teach children and mold their character in harmony with the word of God when they are with you throughout the day (instead of with unbelievers and wicked influences from peers). Although educating children at home exclusively is not commanded of Christian parents today, Deuteronomy 6:5-7 is worthy of consideration - "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." What better way is there to teach your children to love God, His word, and His people than with them by your side throughout the day?

    I am convinced that a mother of average intelligence and ability who spends 20 to 40 hours a week out in the work place could use that same energy and teach her children at home successfully at a fraction of the cost of tuition at a Christian school. Plus, the mother relearns all the subjects as her child learns at his or her own pace. To teach is to learn twice. Additionally, the benefit of being the greatest influence in the lives of your children cannot be overestimated. If you really desire it, you could educate your children at home.

  3. Read a good Christian book. Do you read good Christian books now? Reading books for education in the things of the Lord is more important than reading books just for entertainment. Of course, all book reading should be after the reading and studying of the word of God.

  4. Minister to senior citizens and shut-ins. Do you minister to the elderly or handicapped? "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27). Can you help clean houses, mow grass, rake yards, wash windows, or cook dinners? These things are important to God.

  5. Take a nap. Be refreshed physically so you can give your energy to your Lord, husband, and children. These are the priorities of a Christian mother. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take care of your body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Take a nap! Get some rest!

  6. Prepare yourself and the house for your husband's return each day as though a king were returning, and the children were princes and princesses.

  7. Learn how to work with computers. Develop and update basic skills of a trade to prepare yourself in case you have to work in the event your husband dies or is disabled.

  8. Learn to play a musical instrument or take up some hobby. You'd be amazed at what you could do if you put your mind to it. Most of our abilities or talents have yet to be discovered because we are too busy to discover them.

  9. Learn to crochet, sew, do crafts, paint, make dresses, etc.

  10. Write letters of encouragement to missionaries.

  11. Write to people in the community inviting them to church or a Bible study with you.

  12. Write to prisoners (especially women prisoners).

  13. Write to soldiers.

  14. Write letters of encouragement to those who are discouraged or going through a difficult time.

  15. Write letters of encouragement to those who are going strong, so they'll stay uplifted.

  16. Visit the sick in hospitals.

  17. Visit the nursing home.

  18. Baby-sit a few hours to give someone a break.

  19. Help a new mother with her baby.

  20. Exercise every other day. Get in shape.

  21. Set your house in order (i.e., your finances, bills, etc.). Be sure to have a written budget. It will bring peace to your home knowing how much you have, what you need to put in the bank, what you can spend, etc. With your finances in order you'll be able to have peace rather than confusion about your money. Also you'll be able to budget money for life insurance so if your husband should die you would still be provided for.

  22. Clean: laundry, house, yard, car, dishes, etc. Christians should do their best to keep their things clean and in order.

  23. Plant a garden and flower beds.

  24. Teach your children everything you are doing. Although the Lord and your husband come first in order of priority, your children come next. They are not a burden or responsibility to be pushed off on someone else. Teach them everything you can, and prepare them for life as adults.

  25. Start a home-based business that the children can be involved in. If you can cut hair, teach them how. If you can do crafts, teach them how. If you can pound nails, teach them how. If you can make clothes, teach them how.

  26. Continue to learn more about cooking, canning, baking, etc. Never stop learning.

  27. Write letters to your relatives near and far away explaining what the Lord has done for you.

  28. Send cards for birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations to your relatives. Always enclose a carefully chosen gospel tract to sow the seed.

  29. Write letters to your federal, state, and local authorities regarding current issues that affect morality and Christianity. Keep letters brief and to the point. Express your views strongly but do not be nasty. Make phone calls to these leaders' offices also.

  30. Write local newspapers that run editorial letters and promote some good cause or oppose sin. Write intelligently and they will print your letter.

Can you think of more things to add to this list? There is so much good a homemaker can do for the Lord, her husband, her children, and herself.

It is wise for every family to have a good perspective on their financial standing. Here are three suggestions to consider:

1. Have a written budget that is updated at least once a year. Kohl made a bold point in his original booklet by declaring: "Whenever I have worked out a budget for someone, I have proven to them, without exception, that they can make it on the net salary of the husband of the house and they didn't need to both work outside the home." Although I can imagine some exceptions, I believe the point here is well made. If a family is willing to make radical changes in their lifestyle, one income will typically be enough--even if that income isn't exceedingly large. And, there is another way to generate extra income (which we will consider in a moment) without a Christian mother working for someone else outside the home.

Families with their finances in order are generally more at peace than those who don't. Financial strain is the number one cause of divorce, separation, and marital misery, but it doesn't have to be that way. Jehovah is a God of order, perfect order. We should endeavor to keep our finances in order. Having a written budget and sticking to it helps a lot. You might be surprised at what you can do with so little if you have and keep a budget.

2. Give God His portion. When you're making your budget, don't leave the Lord out! Although the New Testament does not specify how much a Christian should give, we are instructed to give generously from cheerful hearts. I am confident you could give God at least 10% of your gross income (even if you make very little) if you decide to do so. Proverbs 3:9,10 states - "Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine." Let me encourage you to also consider the following additional passages and read them slowly and deliberately on this theme of giving to God: Malachi 3:8-11, Luke 6:38, I Corinthians 16:1,2, & II Corinthians 9:6-9.

3. What about a home-based business? Most women have an ability that could be turned into a profit. They can work out of their home when it is convenient. They can teach their children these skills while teaching their children business and fiscal responsibility also. When a mother works outside the home, the children receive no experience. When a mother works inside the home, the child observes her industriousness and can be incorporated into the business, learning skills and valuable financial principles.

How sad to see so many teenagers today who begin to earn money at sixteen years old, for example, and by the time they are twenty they are deep in debt. How sad to see children and teens who earn money or are given money and they spend it all. There is no discipline to save or give to God. This is because mom and dad have failed to teach their children fiscal responsibility.

A home-based business can change that. Mom, think--what do your children know right now about finances that you personally have taught them? Are they prepared, or being prepared, for the rest of their lives when they will have to control money or be controlled by it? The truth will set anyone free, but money can put a person in slavery for the rest of their lives if they haven't learned how to control it.

Although our lessons this week have been focused on being a Christian mother, let's slip back to the Old Testament for a bit. If time permitted, we would read and analyze Proverbs 31:10-31. Is this passage not a description of an industrious, hard-working woman, whose home is the base for her business activities? The text speaks of her buying a field, making things to sell, etc. Why does she do all of this? Answer: "She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness" (Prov. 31:27). She hasn't forsaken the home by being such a hard-working woman. Rather, she is watching out for her husband and children and their best interests via her diligent business pursuits!

One note of caution is in order here: a home-based business can become a great distraction to the wonderful things that could be done for God by a mother (e.g., the list of 37 things described previously). A home-based business may not be needed. Your husband's income may be plenty to live on and a home-based business would just keep you from doing something better or more eternally productive with your time.

Ask the Lord and your husband first before starting a home-based business. You don't want to make the mistake of teaching your children that making money is the most important thing in life. Don't miss motherhood for money!

Kohl read a poll of working mothers taken back in 1993. They were asked many questions, but the one that interested him the most was this: "What is the greatest emotion you deal with as a working mother?" The answer was almost unanimous: "GUILT!"

From the Buffalo News, dated September 30, 1994, here is part of an article written by a lady named Marie Cocco:

It sprang from my 4-year-old's mouth the other day, just after his errant behavior had been punished with a week long ban on eating sweets. "I'm going to take away privileges, Mommy," he shot back. "You're going to lose your going-back-to-work privilege!" That is how Matthew views my return to work after six months of maternity leave: a privilege he'd like to wrest from me as punishment. In his defiant anger, he shot a guilt-tipped dart to my heart...

Why the guilt among working mothers? I can't say personally, but my own experience with guilt is that I tend to feel guilt when I am guilty. Although our consciences are sometimes wrong (due to being misinformed), anytime we have feelings of guilt we should stop and seriously consider what we are doing. I have yet to meet a stay-at-home mother who has felt guilty about being a wife and a mother. She may feel "unfulfilled" to some degree, if the world has been playing with her head, but she doesn't feel guilty.

Often a lady feels as though "just" being a wife and mother is a waste of a life. She feels unfulfilled. She feels as though she is not contributing. Sadly, she is worldly-minded and her sense of value is in dollars and cents, not in the praise of God. She measures her worth in tangible things like a paycheck rather than intangible things like faith, obedience, and glorifying the Lord. Dear godly women, money is the cheapest of all blessings! God has already declared that your price is "far above rubies" (Prov. 31:10). Accept that by faith. Don't sacrifice the "far above rubies" value of a wife and mother for the pursuit of money!

These are sobering thoughts, moms (and dads, indirectly). Don't be satisfied doing what is good for your family; seek to do what is best. Have a Biblical basis for everything you do and don't do. The time you spend as a homemaker in serving God, your husband, and your children is invaluable!

Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.