The place of the mother in the home varies from family to family:
¥ Mother is a stay-at-home mom, and dad is the sole bread winner.
¥ Mom and dad both work out of the home and share the domestic duties.
¥ Mom works because two incomes are needed to maintain the family’s standard of living.
¥ Mom works to fulfill a psychological need for fulfillment.
¥ Mom is single and works out of financial necessity.
Which of these plans is the most biblical? I don’t know. I know the one I favor, but that does not make it the most God pleasing. I have to remind myself of this.
Solomon, who had seven hundred wives, describes the wife of noble character in Proverbs 31 in today’s text. Truly she was a mother who worked out of the home.
1. She was a homemaker. “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and for her servant girls” (15).
2. She was a businesswoman. “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard” (16). “She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night” (18). “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes” (24).
3. She does manual work. “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks” (17).
4. She is a seamstress. “She has a spinning wheel in her parlor, and she makes her children’s clothes” (19).
5. She is a volunteer. “She is out in the community helping the poor” (20).
6. She is a teacher. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (26).
Where is her husband while she is doing all of this work? It seems quite disgusting. “He is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” In other words, he is down at the legislature, while his wife is home slaving. Wow!
Does this woman have a modern counterpart? I believe she does.
As my reference I use our daughter-in-law and daughters. They prepare healthy meals for their families, visit their friends who have problems and are hurting, and bake cookies and visit the elderly. They attend their children’s extracurricular activities, see that their children apply themselves to their school work, are concerned about a good social life for their families and themselves, and grow in their spiritual lives by attending Bible studies. One teaches school. Another practices medicine, and a third assists her husband in his office. They maintain a home that is not only clean, but has a pleasing decor as well, are the purchasing agents for their families in grocery, clothing, and furniture stores, and serve as the chief financial officer of the family income. And so the list goes on. The woman in Proverbs looks very busy Ð and she is Ð but no more busy than many of our mothers today.
All of the work listed above for the mothers of all generations is important. However, the calling for a mother in every age comes from our Heavenly Father, who blessed us with children and said, “Train up a child and when he is old he will not depart from it.” For the Christian mother, this word must have top priority. When the other activities crowd out this God-given calling, the home is in serious trouble.
This is mother’s job. However, it is also dad’s job. The job cannot be assigned to anyone but mom and dad. Others, like Sunday school teachers, can help the parents in training the children spiritually. Yet, the primary responsibility of introducing these little ones to Jesus is mom and dad.
The job is difficult. Families live with many temptations not known in Solomon’s day. We live in an open society where often no rights and wrongs exist. God’s Word gives us rights and wrongs, and he has revealed them in the Ten Commandments. Telling these absolutes to their children can be difficult for mom and dad. Our society has seen many immigrants moving to our neighborhoods. Some of these people are Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Jewish people. They do not believe that Jesus is the only Savior of the world. Mom and dad have the challenge to teach their children what the Bible says Ð that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Yet, we have to live together and respect the rights of these friends, which our country grants to them. It is not easygoing.
So parents have a right to wipe their brows and ask, “How do we get this all done? The influence of our children’s friends is strong. They are together most of the day. We have them for a few hours at the most.”
I again encourage you to let your children hear the basic teachings of the Christian faith from your lips. Field the questions regarding their relationship with Jesus Christ as they surface. Give them biblical answers. Who knows, these children you love may walk away from the faith, and this will be heart-breaking for you. Just remember God’s promise: “My Word will not return void.” It is not that you have failed if you have witnessed in your home by word and action that Jesus is your Lord. Where there is great concern is when our children venture out into a world filled with temptation and have not been taught what the Word of God has to say. When that is the case, they have no Christian convictions to guide them, and they are vulnerable to follow their own feelings. That is not good, because their feelings are often wrong.
How you answer the question about the role of working mothers and fathers in your home is between you and your spouse. However, your number one responsibility, if you are a Christian, is to train up your child to know the Lord Jesus. He alone will carry them through victoriously in this culture where they live. Remember that God’s promises go with them.