Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Did Women in the Bible Work Outside of the Home?

Are there women who worked outside of the home in the Bible; leaving their homes for hours every day and their children in the care of others? I read this on another blog, "There is nothing wrong with a woman who works {Acts 16:14}; what's wrong is a woman who puts her career ahead of her family." When this person wrote "works" he was referring to working outside of the home, since women who stay home work also. Let's looks at this verse that somehow justifies working outside of the home ~ "And a certain woman named Lydia, seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira..." or they use this from the Proverbs 31 woman, "She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant." That's it! There's only two verses.

Neither of these verses tell us that these women worked outside of the home. In fact, they most undoubtedly made their clothing in their homes since there were no factories back then. Maybe Lydia went to the market place to sell it, but we don't know. She could have easily sold it from her home. It didn't say whether or not she even had a husband and children. The Proverbs 31 woman "delivered girdles" but it certainly doesn't mean she was away from the home for hours every day with others raising her children. Some claim the Proverbs 31 woman was a real estate investor since she bought some land and planted a garden on it. It always amazes me what great lengths people will use to try and justify women working outside of the home from a biblical argument. 

Then I read this comment on another blog to someone else, "As for the staying home to be with your children issue; I had the impression that your children were school age. So who exactly would you be staying home with? I have never been able to come to terms with the idea of not working, although I have my frustrations with it. I find it selfish. If I am not going to bed exhausted every night from the effort I have put in trying to make the lives of everyone around me better, then I have wasted my time here on earth for this day. And I have the ability to care for more than just my immediate family."

It's NOT selfish to stay home. It is biblical. There is nowhere in the Bible that tells women to go away from their homes and get jobs. This is what the Bible prescribes for older women, "...having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feel, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good word" and for the younger women, "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully" {both verses are from I Timothy 5}. 

Some women feel uncomfortable sharing posts like this on their Facebook page because other women get mad and accuse them of judging. I have gotten this a lot. I was even told years ago not to speak about women being "keepers at home" at my church for fear of women feeling judged. We are commanded to speak the Truth in love and teach young women to be keepers at home. If others feel judged by hearing the Truth, it is their problem, not ours. Truth is intended to convict and change. {I realize some women have no choice but to work. The Bible commands the church and family to support older widows. Younger widows are commanded to remarry. Women are never commanded to go out and work outside of their homes.}

Society was a much better place when women were at home taking care of their husbands, children and homes. God clearly wants women to be home; there is NO doubt about it. Some argue that God doesn't say women can't work outside of the home, but He is very clear that He does want them working at home. 

We must NOT try to make the Bible fit our lifestyle and what we want to do. We must fit our lifestyle according to how God wants us to live. This is the best place for a believer to be; in the center of His amazing will!