June 5, 2022

Keeping the Home—A Married Woman’s High Calling!

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy

God’s intended purpose for the married woman is that she will be, first and foremost, the “helpmeet” of her husband (Gen. 2:18), as well as a joyful mother of their children and the keeper of the house (Psalms 113:9; 128:3; Prov. 31:10-31; 1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:4-5). The primary realm of her work assigned by God is in the home. Scripture expects her to manage the affairs of the house for the well-being of her husband and her children. The overwhelming and clear teaching of Scripture concerning godly women is that the primary realm of their work and activity ought to be in and around their homes. Of course, this does not prevent them from going out of the house for necessary personal and family matters, for helping the poor, and for fulfilling God-given abilities and obligations. Nonetheless, God expects godly men to labour to provide for the family (Psalm 128:1-2; 1 Tim. 5:8; cf. Gen 3:19), and their wives to keep the home with joy and dedication. God has commissioned women, and not men, to be keepers of the house.

One classic biblical example that a Christian wife or mother can follow is the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31. Undoubtedly, her first place of work was her home, and her first concern was the household tasks. When she occasionally went out of the house to buy household goods (vv. 13-14) or to sell things she made at home (v. 24), she was not engaging in a profession, like the modern career woman who leaves home daily for most of her waking hours. She spent much of her time working daily within and around the house (vv. 15-22, 27), caring for her family members and poor neighbours (v. 20). Even though she had maids to do household tasks, she laboured much at home to supervise and provide for the needs of her family (making clothes, preparing / serving food, and engaging in other household chores), and support the poor neighbours. She would wake up very early, even before sunrise, to start her work at home. Her regular daytime work was at her own home and its vicinity – not in other people’s farms or industries, managing or running their businesses. She was far from the modern-day career (or business) woman who works during most of the waking hours of the day elsewhere, away from the house. It is not to say that she had never gone out of her house. She would go out to do marketing or carry out needful transactions (vv. 13-14, 24), but the base of her daily work was her home. In her family, she was the manager of household chores. She did it with commitment and dignity. She did not leave the care of the house to her husband, so as to pursue a career or business herself. In fact, her husband was a man of great responsibility in society. His place among the council of elders at the city gate is particularly mentioned (v. 23). There is no indication that her husband was a “stay-home” husband while she went out to be a career woman (a proposition not found in the Scriptures). The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 was, first and foremost, a keeper (or manager) of her house who cared for her husband and children, as well as the poor and needy.

Today, with many modern facilities at their disposal, young Christian wives think they can take care of their families without spending much time at home. So, many young Christian women choose to be career women instead of keepers at home. Often, they fail to consider the mental, emotional, and physical stress and fatigue to which they fall prey. They return home (after work) most of the evenings drained of their mental and physical energy, struggling to attend to the needs and challenges of family life. Many crucial matters concerning the care and support for the husband, as well as the nurturing of the children, go unnoticed and are left unattended. Often, this results in family members falling prey to spiritual dangers and disunity. Young wives ought to be sober (cf. Titus 2:4) concerning their God-given priorities in life. They should not unwisely spend time and effort in activities outside the home (whether they be job, business, leisure, or other forms of service), which would result in dereliction of God-given responsibilities and duties at home. They must give their very best (and not ‘leftover’) to the loving care of their husbands and children. It is of great importance that all family members maintain a genuine desire to obey and honour the Lord and His Word, in order for the blessings and glory of the Lord to crown our homes. Husbands must give biblical advice to their wives, and encourage them with the prayer that they may joyfully fulfil their God-given duties at home. Let no husband reverse the roles God has assigned to each family member. Husbands’ duty at home is not to change God-given responsibilities, but to instruct everyone at home to adhere to God’s counsels.

The presence and toil of every godly woman in the home is a favour that God provides for her husband and her children (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14). Women are created to help their husbands and tenderly nourish their children for the glory of God. It is a matter that Scripture has emphatically taught both in the Old and New Testaments. It is a timeless truth that God has given in His Word to bless every godly family. None should tamper with it! Titus 2:4-5 exhorts us that we should adhere to the instructions concerning married young women to be chaste, be obedient to their own husbands, be lovers of their husbands and children, and be keepers at home, so “that the word of God be not blasphemed”. The unmistakable indication here is that we should not disregard the warning given by the apostle Paul that the Word of God will be blasphemed (or defamed) by married young women doing otherwise. When we neglect God-given counsel, we will dishonour God and His truth. The apostle Paul issues a similar caution in his first letter to Timothy, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan” (1 Tim. 5:14-15). Where God’s will is spurned, Satan’s will is pursued. May our homes be a place where God’s Word is always honoured and every satanic, worldly idea opposed.

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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