Originally posted 1-26-2016

Should women work?  This is the question that is asked so much in Christian circles.  I can answer that question with a question.  Is there a woman who does not work?  I suppose if there’s a very lazy woman who sits on the couch eating bonbons while watching Dr. Phil then I would consider she was not working.  But the truth is I haven’t met a woman who doesn’t work, whether at home or employed elsewhere.  Should women work outside of the home?  That is the question.

This is so very important in Christian circles. The emphasis is usually on the fact that the one true way to be a good Christian woman is to work at home.  But is it?  The argument is made that if a woman works outside of the home and has children then they will suffer.  Will they?  What is our basis for that assessment? Can a mother be a good mother and work outside the home?  Can a woman be a good wife and work outside the home?  Can a woman be a faithful follower of Christ and work outside the home?  These are questions to be answered not based on opinion but according to the Word of God.

The passage used most often is Titus 2:3-5.  “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.  They are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”  This is a great passage to show us how important the older generation is to the younger.  The older women are to teach the younger women.  The most important thing they are to teach is what is good.  This refers to sound doctrine.  It is only after they have taught sound doctrine that the overflow is the practical training in the other areas listed here.

The phrase that draws our attention is “working at home”.  This phrase is one that refers to “a keeper at home, one who looks after domestic affairs” (Lexical aid to the New Testament NASB).  The domestic affairs of a household can be taught by older women who have experience in this area to younger women who do not.  However, we must be careful to realize that the clause is not exclusive in regards to the only way a woman can work.  Let’s look at Proverbs 31 to see examples of working at home and outside of the home at the same time.  “She looks well to the ways of her household…” Proverbs 31:27a  This verse is a summary of the how this woman provides for her household by seeking food from a distance, gathering wool and linen for homemade clothing, and teaching with wisdom.  But there is more to this woman.  “She considers a field and buys it;” Proverbs 31:16a “She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.” Proverbs 31:24  She works outside the home by buying and selling.  It is interesting that this is included in this woman’s resume as a wife.  So what makes so many in the body of believers think that staying at home is the only way?

The answer may have to do with the ideal that we have set up in our minds as Americans.  The idea of television shows like “Leave it to Beaver”, “Father Knows Best”, “Ozzie and Harriet”, and “Happy Days” is very appealing to us.  The 1950s seem like years where life was so good with mom at home in her heels and pearls vacuuming away while dad was at the office.  This is all very far from reality but has become such a dream for so many of what is best in a family.  Of course there is nothing wrong with mom at home and dad at the office but it certainly doesn’t look like pearls and heels.  Who can vacuum in heels?  The truth is the Christian community has replaced the Word of God for the 1950s standard.  Once again, when we do that we become judge over those who do not follow our standard.  This causes contention in the body of Christ.

In conclusion we must remember that we are to love one another in whatever place we find ourselves; whether working at home or working outside the home.  Every family has its own unique circumstances with standards that work best for them. As long as those standards line up with God’s Word we need to quit judging and start loving.  After all we would be called to love Deborah, Huldah, the Proverbs 31 woman, Lydia, Priscilla and Dorcas as women who had a job outside the home.  Can we just get along for the glory of God to be made known?

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