Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Around the Kitchen Stove

When I was younger I looked forward to visiting my grandmother's house. After the supper meal was over, the men would go into the living room with their cups of tea and the women would do up the dishes and sit around the wood stove talking. Usually my grandmother, mother and aunts would be present and their stories were often of long ago. They'd speak of recipes, of raising kids, of husbands, housework, having babies and whatever else came to mind. 

This homey scene has been repeated wherever women have been gathered together ever since time began. In fact, the Apostle Paul even instructed the young pastor, Timothy, to teach the older women of his congregation to instruct the young women about how they were to live their lives. These lessons are still needed today.

“Older women likewise are to be… teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:3-5).
Paul was specific about what the women were to teach the younger women, in fact he mentions these seven lessons.

The Older Women Must Teach the Young Women to…

Love their Husbands –Sometimes its not easy to show love to our husbands especially if he is not being all that he should be. But we will be blessed if we do love them even when they are unlovely. One place to find out how we are to love our husbands is found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

Love their Children –  But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). I breastfed all three of our children until they were old enough to be weaned. They never had a bottle. That meant that no one else got to hold them to feed them. That privilege was left to me. This is the type of personal, nurturing affection and attention that the older women were to teach the young women to practice. Every mother loves their children but not every mother cares for their children. Sometimes their care is left up to others. The young women must be taught to avoid the characteristics of the ostrich who abandons and neglects her young. Job 39:13-18 tells us that the ostrich  treats  them “as if they were not hers,” because she is too concerned with other matters that she believes to be important. 
“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
    though they cannot compare
    with the wings and feathers of the stork.
14 She lays her eggs on the ground
    and lets them warm in the sand,
15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,
    that some wild animal may trample them.
16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
    she cares not that her labor was in vain,
17 for God did not endow her with wisdom
    or give her a share of good sense.
18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
    she laughs at horse and rider.

Older women should teach the younger women that while they may have to work outside of the home, their job is not more important than their children. The care of their children should be their highest priority.

Be Sensible – The word sensible means to be self-controlled or sober-minded. Anyone can fall into sin and  forget about their God-given responsibilities but it is a harder thing to do when they are self-controlled. Paul warned of those who would “enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses” (2 Timothy 3:6). All Christians are warned: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The older women must teach the young women to exercise control over their actions, thoughts, and emotions so that they will not become easy targets for the devil.

Be Pure – To be pure means to be unstained by the world. As a Christian we are to have different standards from the world.  We are to have “chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Peter 3:2), which brings glory to God and puts the focus on Him rather than ourselves. Older women should teach younger women to be modest. Modesty is something that is not only ignored today but is often ridiculed. Paul and Peter both teach about what our choices in clothing should be. And both have had to bear a lot of heat from Christian women down through the ages. But as Christians we should be modest and bring glory to God by our appearance.  We should focus on developing “the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4).

Be Workers at Home – Whether a woman works outside of the home or not she should primarily be a worker at home. Home should be her first responsibility. Although the “excellent wife” of Proverbs 31 is not described as having a career like most modern women in our society have, she was certainly not idle (Proverbs 31:27). She kept herself busy by working with her hands (v. 14), providing food for her household (v. 15), making clothes for her family and to sell to others (v. 13,19,21-22,24), making purchases for the household (v. 16), and helping those in need (v. 20). The older women must teach the young women about these domestic responsibilities in order to help train them to be “workers at home” (Titus 2:5). Many young women decide to have a home based business which enables them to care for the home and to help with the financial needs of the family. 

Be Kind – Tabitha is an example of a woman who was “abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did” (Acts 9:36). Kindness involves showing love and doing good toward others. When Paul discussed the care of certain widows, he described the character of one who would be worthy of help: “Having a reputation for good works… if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work” (1 Timothy 5:10).  The older women must teach the young women to show kindness and do good to others. Kindness and compassion are traits which are taught not only by example but by word and deed as well. 

Be Subject to Their Own Husbands – The thought that a woman is to be subject to her husband is ridiculed and attacked by many in our society. Women are taught by society that there is no such thing as different roles for men and women, despite the fact that the Scriptures describe distinct roles for husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22-25) Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

 Many believe than a woman can be the head of a household over a man, even though the Scriptures teach us that she must be in submission to him (Colossians 3:18)Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.. The older women must teach the young women to submit to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1) Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, respect them (Ephesians 5:33)However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband., and fulfill the role of “a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18)The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”.

Those who fall into the category of the “older women” have a serious responsibility. The younger women are not going to learn these lessons from our society, from their peers, or from the modern books on marriage, parenting, and womanhood. But God still wants the young women to learn and develop these qualities.It is up to the faithful older women to be teaching, mentoring, and showing by example.

 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 
Proverbs 31:12

1 comment

  1. Well spoken :) I would like to hope someday I could just even come a tad close to being in likeness with the proverbs 31 woman~