So why should Christian women make striving for excellence in their homemaking a priority? How does homemaking tie in to a Biblical worldview? What does the Bible say about homemaking?
I want to begin with saying that we are all homemakers because we are all made in the image of God. Do you know who the first homemaker was? It was God himself. The first thing that God did in the book of Genesis was create the heavens and the earth. His purpose in this was to create a suitable home for humanity. When we make a suitable home for our families, we are living out our purpose as image bearers of God.
Where else in scripture does the Bible address homemaking? The scripture most commonly associated with homemaking is Proverbs 31:10-31. I will not quote that passage at length, but I encourage you, even if you have read that passage a thousand times, to read it again and to think about it, or even to memorize it. I will, however summarize that text. The chapter of Proverbs 31 was written by King Lemuel. It is not known exactly who King Lemuel was. Verses 10-31 were an acrostic poem that contained twenty-two lines that his mother had taught him. She taught him the poem to instill in him the qualities to look for in a future wife.
In ancient Hebrew culture, family was valued as the central element of society. Therefore, it was critical for Hebrew men, in order to be successful, to find a God-fearing wife, who would help him, bear his children and instruct them in wisdom, and to build up his reputation. The description of the ideal wife in Proverbs 31 reveals that the acts of homemaking were highly esteemed. Some of the homemaking virtues described here include: being industrious, planning well for the future, caring for the basic needs of your family by providing food and clothing, giving to the poor, being business-savvy, being confident, and being a woman who earns the respect of her family and her community. The interesting thing about Proverbs 31 is that all of these are virtues that are applicable today in our 21st Century homes.
Christians should strive for excellence in all the areas of their homemaking. This is an on-going, lifelong process, not something at which we can arrive one day. This is a testimony to the world of how great God is. Making wise choices in how we prioritize now will pay off huge, eternal dividends in the future. Homemaking may seem like it is something that doesn’t matter much, and so therefore we don’t prioritize it. Excellence in homemaking takes time, it takes work, it takes planning, and it takes daily doses of God’s grace.
How does the act of homemaking tie in with a Biblical worldview? In the secular world, homemaking is often scoffed at as work that berates or degrades women. Women are fed the lie that fulfilling their personal desires are more important than investing in their homes and their family relationships. Women are encouraged to postpone motherhood indefinitely so that they can find career fulfillment. While there is nothing inherently wrong with women pursuing career success outside the home, a career should never come before your family, for a man or for a woman. Indeed, a career can be a way that a man or a woman gives glory to God. But we must walk that fine line of keeping our families before our careers, however that may look for each of us.
Can I tell you what I have asked God to help me to do? I have prayed that God would help me to focus with all my might on this ever-so-short season of my life when my kids are at home. I only get one chance, and this is it. I have the rest of my life after my kids are grown to prioritize my career. But my kids will not wait to grow up. I want to be the best wife and mom that I can be, and provide the best home for my family that I can. I believe wholeheartedly that this is what God has called me to do.
Your call to action is this: Write down what homemaking is to you, and write down three goals which you can work at to improve your homemaking. Pray over those goals, and start working on them this week. Then, ask God to reveal to you what your mission is as a homemaker. I can’t wait to read these in the comments!