Friday, November 28, 2008

online meanderings: balancing ministry inside and outside the home

I love this timely reminder from Amy that a woman's highest calling is not to be a wife and mother - worth remembering as we chat about homemaking!

All women should NOT aspire to be a wife and mother. Instead, all women should aspire to present their bodies a living sacrifice to the Lord. God is glorified in us when we are satisfied with His will for our lives. This is why some marry, some stay single, some have children, and some are barren. Glorify God in your present circumstance, the one you are in right now, not in a future marriage that may or may not happen. ... The one who loves the Lord with her whole heart, soul, and mind—she is the one who pleases God. This is the good news– that no matter who you are, what you’re doing, or where you’re at—that faith in God and the work of His son Jesus Christ pleases Him. ... Being a wife and mother is a good and noble thing, but it is not the highest thing.
Homemaking is part of God's big vision for the world. A big vision which has a profound impact on our mothering and homemaking, and on how we use home and motherhood as a basis for reaching out to others (see Nicole's current series on missional motherhood). As women working in a small sphere, let's never forget the big picture:

These particular instructions to women in Titus 2:3-5 are meant to sail on an ocean of general instruction given in the Bible for all of us as Christians: without an awareness of that big ocean of the Bible's teaching about Jesus and the kingdom of God, the Titus 2 boat can end up bobbing around harmlessly and inoffensively in the backyard swimming pool of suburban materialism, going nowhere.
As for me, I seem to have stunned you all into silence with my question yesterday about the balance between ministry inside and outside the home! Actually, I think those of you with something to say, who like to say things on line (which isn't all of you, I know that, and I've heard from some of you in person) have already said it, and very well too. Have a look at these wonderful responses to the question of the balance between homemaking and ministry from Bec and Valeri.

Anyone else with ideas to add, please go for it - I'd love to hear from you. I'd particularly like to hear any personal stories of how it looks in practice for you, whatever your situation! At this time of year, we're all making plans for next year, so it's a good time to be thinking through these issues.


Valori said...

I agree with you 100% Jean! Everything we do in serving our families is to serve the larger purpose of bringing glory to Jesus! Families make up churches and the church is the body of Christ. I have found that even in my busiest seasons of motherhood, there are still a multitude of opportunities to do good both inside and outside of my home. In fact, what better way is there to instill in our children a passion for the church and the lost than to let them see our own passion? The challenge for me has been how to discern which opportunities to pursue, and like I said before, to be content that when I can't do more outside the home (like in the season of having young children), the simple acts of serving, nurturing, and training my children is actually ministry that fulfills the larger purpose of what God wants to accomplish. I am participating in training them up in the way they should go and in helping them to have a strong foundation for the ministry God has for them some day. (If we want to be convinced of the importance of what we are doing, all we need to do is think of the effect NOT doing these things has on children!) I believe the Lord can help us know when we are striving for more than He has for us or when we are making an idol out of family life. Like I said before, my husband, as the head of our home, is the one who can best help me process these things. And by God's grace, we have godly friends who can help us along as well.

Here are two things I just shared with some younger wives that I am serving that may be helpful:

#1 - Be content with what you are able to do in this season, knowing that caring for your children IS how you are serving the Lord, the church, and your husband.

#2 – At the same time, don’t minimize the blessing and encouragement you can be to others, in sometimes very simple ways, even WHILE you are caring for your children. Just ask Him for the opportunities, and you’ll see!

TruthMatters said...

Dear Jean,

Just a quick note to let you know that I love your "style" of writing. It is provocative in a "good" way and thouroughly refreshing to my soul.

Your post was timely (in my life) and the Lord has used it to encourage and strengthen me as I glory in my Redeemer!

In Christ and For His Sake,

Lucy said...

Hi Jean, I was going to write a comment but I realised it would be too long, so I made a post on my blog answering your Q. :) Lucy

mattnbec said...

Yes! I think being content whatever your circumstances and honouring God are definitely key. I often find it so hard though. I suspect that for us as women, this is one of the things we constantly need to hear about -

1 Tim 6:6 "6But godliness with contentment is great gain."


Jean said...

Bec, check out Nic's comments on contentment here - very thought-provoking and helpful!

mattnbec said...

Yeah - good call re the contentment verse. How many times have I told people in Bible studies and 1-1s to remember the context?!! *Sigh* Good for the humility!