Rearing Our Children

August 21, 2005 / No. 3268

Dear radio friends,

     We have been focusing on godly Christian parenting and, especially the last couple of broadcasts, on the awesome calling that we fathers have in the home.  Today, just to be fair, I would like to address the mothers.  What a glorious calling the women have, and what a wonderful place our wives and mothers have at home.

     We base our thoughts today on Titus 2:4, 5.  We have here the Word of God that the apostle Paul gave to Titus and the Word that Titus had to bring to the womenfolk, especially the older women:  “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

     In this passage of Scripture, Titus is being exhorted to preach and teach the things that become sound doctrine, that is, doctrine that is wholesome, doctrine that is healthy, doctrine that will promote godliness and bring glory to the name of God.  When women perform their God-given calling to be keepers at home, then the Word of God is glorified and the home is nourished.  This is wholesome doctrine.  I know that this aspect of rearing our children, from the viewpoint that mothers should be keepers at home, might sound old-fashioned.  Nevertheless, it is the wonderful Word of God.  Older women are reminded to set the tone and example in the church so that also the younger women might see thisglorious place.

     A mighty influence, you know, are the womenfolk, not only to the daughters, but to the sons as well, in the church of Jesus Christ.  Though some might say, “Oh, this is male chauvinism,” or “Oh, this is old-fashioned,” or “Oh, this is looking down on women,” I remind you, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”  To think that the women have such an awesome calling, from the birth of their children on (even before, to conceive those children), and then to rear them at home and have such a direct touch on these children who, one day, may end up to be servants of God in whatever occupation God may give to them.  We should not look down on such a high calling.  We should honor our wives and our mothers.  We men ought to encourage them in their God-given calling.  There is so much pressure out in the world for women to leave the home and to join the workforce and to have a career and to make something of themselves.  Then our Christian women, even in our own churches, become a bit discouraged and pessimistic and begin to think, “Well, do we really have to stay home,” as if this is a burden.  The Word of God everywhere shows us that indeed this is a blessing.  I Timothy 2:15, “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.”  I Timothy 5:14 teaches the younger women to marry and bear children and guide the home.  Here, Titus 2:4, 5 presents the same truth, that the rearing of children is so important that mothers ought to be exhorted, encouraged, to be keepers in the home.

     These are God-appointed workers at home.  I like to call it that when people ask me to fill out forms.  If the form asks, “Does your wife work?”  I think it is ridiculous to put “No,” because she does work.  We usually write “God-appointed workers at home,” because wives work, and they work hard.  Imagine if we men had to pay our wives for all the work that they do at home, day in and day out.  We would go broke!  Thank God that they do not expect us to pay them for all the work they do.  The fact is, they are God-appointed workers at home.  They are identified in Titus 2:4 and 5 as “keepers at home.”  It is important that we understand what this means so that we do not misunderstand or in any way degrade the high calling of motherhood.

     No, it does not mean that mothers are the guards who must defend the home.  Sometimes we think “keeper” means “guard.”  It is a different word in the Scriptures.  Although, with the fathers, they do also defend the home in a very wonderful way.  It does not mean, either, that they are simply supposed to be doing all the cleaning and the washing.  We talk about “house-keeping,” as if that is all that word means.  But this word “keep” has a beautiful meaning.  We need to understand that.  Mothers are the God-appointed workers at home.  The word is made up of two words:  house and dwelling.  They ought to be mindful of the house and the dwelling place of the family.  That word, with the other word, which is “carer,” or “worker,” gives to us the concept that they are to be the care-givers at home.  They are the ones God has appointed to keep the home and to look to the welfare of the home, to love the husband, to love the children.  Husbands, too, of course, must join with them.  The husband has a calling especially to lead, defend, and provide.  But God has been pleased to give a helpmeet so that that aspect of the family will be also taken care of.

     The older women must set the tone, teach the younger to be domestically inclined.  I think that is a good word.  Keeper at home has the idea of domestic needs  — having food, having clothes, having shelter, and having a comfortable environment and a good atmosphere.

     Now, I realize that to a modern-day mother who juggles her time between home and job and hundreds of other things, this may sound old-fashioned or even male chauvinistic. But I ask you:  Consider with me, in the light of God’s Word, whether or not the underlying truth of this word is indeed not only precious but has a lot of practical consequences. If, indeed, you want to say that this is old-fashioned, then the Word of God is very often old-fashioned, but for a good reason.  It looks to the needs all around.  It is wholesome.  It does not focus just on the need of the family to have a good income and to have food on the table.  But it focuses on that blessed atmosphere of the home and the need to have somebody taking care of the environment in the home.  God gives that role to the mother.  She is the caregiver.  It is not a lesser or higher calling.  It is just different.  It is a different, glorious calling.  Children need not only father but they need mother.  And the house not only needs the headship, leadership, and defense of the man, but needs also the motherliness and the care and the affection that mothers alone can give in the home.

     That is why these keepers at home are identified in our text with the word “love.”  Did you ever notice that?  That they love their husbands, that they love their children.  That is the emphasis of keepers at home.  They are the mothers who must be devoted to the needs of their God-given husbands and their God-given children.

     The older women should not be saying to the younger women, “Come on, get on with your life.  Why are you so devoted to your husband?  You have your own life to live, don’t you?  Why does your life center in those children?  Come on.  Life is more than just kids!”  Dear mothers out there, you who might be despised in the world or even (what a shame) by those in the church, I know, admittedly, that that happens.  But I say to you, on the basis of God’s Word, what a glorious calling you have to be devoted to your husband and to be devoted to your children!  In that day of days, Christ will say to you:  “Well done, godly mother of Israel, because you loved your husband and you loved your children and you gave your family such a wonderful home.  Well done!”  Will those not be wonderful words to hear?

     Does your church, or do your Christian friends, say to you:  “Don’t have children.  They are unbearably difficult.  They’re boring.  They’re burdensome.  Oh, maybe have one or two.  Why have so many?  Go out to work.”  Or, worse yet, do older women, maybe even your grandparents, say to you:  “I will take care of your children, or we can find a nice nursery for them,” instead of showing you the right way according to Titus 2:4, 5.  Then hear the Word of God.  Even the world knows how to recognize Mother’s Day!  Once a year, at least.  There is a lot of sentiment around Mothers’ Day.  But, I say as a minister of the gospel, our sentiments ought to be based on the Word of God.  It is proper to give mothers their God-given honor.  They have been God-appointed workers at home, dedicated to their husbands and to their children, giving their home the touch that only mothers can give.  Both husbands and sons (are you listening out there?) ought to know the place of the woman and honor the women and honor your wives and your mothers.  If they are not convinced, pray with them and for them and remind them that they have a wonderful place and you appreciate them.

     What work do they do?  According to Titus 2:5, they are to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands.

     “To be discreet” is a translation of the same root word that is translated “sober” throughout this passage of Scripture.  That word means, literally, “awake to reality, do not be drunk.”  You do not become drunk only when you drink too much wine.  You can get drunk by becoming covetous.  You can become drunk by going to and fro with every wind of doctrine.  You can become drunk by being so attracted to the things of the world or to your job and your career that you do not realize what life is all about.  Older women, teach the younger women to be sober, to wake up to reality, not to fall into the world’s temptations when they are watching television or surfing the Internet.  We must encourage and exhort our mothers.  God’s Word, which is good for us, which is wholesome doctrine, has placed the mother at home for a wonderful purpose — that she may be single-mindedly devoted to her God-given husband and be faithful to her God-given children.

     Today we have mothers at the workbench just like the fathers.  Do not get me wrong!  Men, too, should be keepers at home and they too should be devoted to their wives and their children.  It is a terrible thing that men go running up to other women at the workbench.  But is it not true that now it is happening to women, too?  They are going out there in the world and they are tempted to say, “Hey, why must I be a one-man woman?  Why must I be devoted just to my own husband and to my own children?”  And pretty soon you have marital infidelity and all kinds of havoc.  It strikes me that today people build big mansions — but nobody is home.  Family life is going, going, gone.  We need to restore that by the solid preaching of God’s Word.  Be awakened today.  Be not drunk.  Be discreet.

     Next, chastity.  The God-given work of mothers demands that they be chaste, clean.  They must put away all impurity, so that they keep the home and themselves pure. Mothers, is your home chaste?  Are you a good example of chastity in your dress, in your television programs?  If the world influences you, then your attitude will influence your husband and your children.  Whereas, if you are godly, that will influence the conversation at home.  I know that the man is the leader.  But who spends the most time with the children?  The mothers, because they are home cooking, cleaning, reading, singing, being with their children.  They need to be a moral, godly influence to these children.  Is it not the case today that when the man goes out to work and the woman also goes out to work, there is a void in the home?  What is influencing these children and these  teenagers?  The television and the Internet and their friends, and all kinds of things in the home except the God-appointed person there who should be governed by the principles of sobriety and chastity.

     Next, we read that such a woman should be good and obedient.  All this, of course, comes under love — love for the husband and for the children.  Good here means either being beneficial to the home or being morally upright.  In either case, the mother ought to be, according to Scripture, obedient to her own husband, following cheerfully the leadership of the man in the house, recognizing the importance of his calling, and then, together with the husband, rearing her children.

     I have counseled many who, because of sin or because of certain providential situations, have been compelled to raise their children alone.  I am not saying that that is impossible.  I am not saying that God in His mercy cannot raise up godly seed even with a single parent.  But I am saying to you that God’s Word instructs us that in the home there ought to be father and mother and that together father and mother rear these children.  Children need them both.  And God has been pleased to delineate their callings.  Right from the beginning He said to the man that under the sweat of his brow he must work so that he can provide for the home and defend the home and lead the home.  And he said to the woman that she will bring forth seed and she will care for the home.  The Word of God clearly shows to us that that is the way it ought to be.  We need to maintain the Word of God that highly honors motherhood so that not both parents are outside of the home.  There may be situations where, perhaps, the man is handicapped, and therefore unable to earn enough money for the family, and then the mother goes out to work and the man stays home.  Who is to say that that is biblically sinful or wrong?  I would not dare say that.  But I would say that the way that the Word of God has presented to us godly Christian parenting, we need to have both father and mother caring for these children and that there is a place for the man outside of the home to work and a place for the woman inside the home.  Then, if there are exceptions, godly parents work it out in such a way that at least one of them is at home with these children.  We must maintain the Word of God that highly honors mothers as keepers at home.

     Do you work?  Or do you stay at home?  I should take that back!  Do you work at home or do you work outside the home?  Are you a homemaker, are you a keeper at home, are you honestly and sincerely able to say, “I am a worker at home”?  What do you do?  Do you care for your children — whether there be two or four or six or just one?  Is that allyou do?  Do you not have a career?  That is what somebody may ask you.  And you say, “Excuse me!  That is my career!  And I love it.  My lifelong passion is to care for my children.  And if I do work part time or if I do something from the home or even outside the home, it is subservient to this first priority.  I’ve been appointed by God to love my husband, to love my children, to be keeper at home.”

     But now I ask you this question:  Do you really keep the home?  It is possible to be, by name, keeper at home and not really be faithful to that God-given calling — just as it is possible to be a preacher and then waste away your time during the week and try to come up with a sermon or two on the weekend.  That is terribly wicked.  That same thing can happen to women.  Are you really home?  Are you working at home?  Are you staying at home in such a way that it is a delight and not a burden and that you are not squandering all those hours but are really dwelling at home in such a way that you are working?

     I know women who believe that they have to get out of the home because, they say, all they have been doing is watching television or reading magazines and changing diapers and cooking and it became boring after a while.  And they say, “I need fulfillment!”

     Oh, for godly mothers, both young and old in Israel, who know the rich fulfillment of keeping the home.  We live in a culture where parenthood is despised more and more.  I say to you on the basis of God’s Word that you can have a wonderful family life when you are devoted to the home.  I do not think it necessary to list all kinds of details here and to start telling you that this is what you do or this is what you do not do.  But I have spoken to my wife and other womenfolk, and when they are devoted to their husbands and children they tell me that it is so fulfilling they do not have time for anything else.  Maybe they do go out to play tennis or learn to play the piano.  But they say they have so much to do at home — reading good books, to be able to transmit that knowledge to their children; while they are cooking, teaching the children to cook; while they are sewing, teaching the children to sew; while they are in the home, not just doing the “menial” tasks, but doing it out of joy so that the children in the home, and the father in the home, can sense that this is a happy family life.  Oh, there is so much blessedness in having a rich family life where we can eat together, pray together, spend time together.

     Keepers at home have work to do.  They have lots of work to do.  I am a full-time minister.  I believe that the ministry should be full time.  It takes their whole life and their whole heart.  You mothers have a glorious calling to be full-time mothers.  Why do you want to make that part time?  God has appointed you to be keepers at home.  If you have to do some work outside the home because you need income or for some other reason, I suggest to you that that indeed be very minimal and that you spend more and more time as keeper at home.

     What is the goal and conclusion?  In so doing, the Word of God here tells us, you honor His Word.  The contrary is that you will begin to blaspheme the Word of God.  That is what the text tells us.  There is so much child-delinquency, there is so much break-up in marriage, there is so much misunderstanding of the place of the woman.  I ask you to consider the Word of God that by your godly example the next generation will rise up and will say, “What a blessed thing it is that we have godly women at home — mothers who care for their children so that we have a wholesome home environment.”

     May God give us grace that our mothers be found at home, God-appointed workers, with a wonderful joy and godliness in the home.

     O God, bless us, that we may have mothers back in the home, and that for Jesus’ sake, Amen.