The Path of Servanthood

I’ve been reading through Proverbs 31:10-31 a lot lately.

One of the things that strikes me the most about this virtuous lady is her utter selflessness.  She isn’t focused on furthering her career, padding her bank account, or receiving praises for her personal accomplishments.  On the contrary, she seems to be focused on the needs of others–her husband, her children and her community.

It bumfuzzles me that homemakers are often labeled as a poor, oppressed breed of women.  Yet when I look at the Proverbs 31 woman I see:

  • She is well-dressed.
  • She has plenty of food to eat.
  • She is physically fit.
  • She enjoys a well-ordered, emotionally stable life.
  • She is strong, dignified and yet cheerful.
  • She has a lasting beauty.
  • She doesn’t sit around wringing her hands about the future.  She is secure and content.
  • Her husband, who is well-respected in the community, thinks she’s awesome and remains unwavering in his faithfulness to her. He brags about her to his friends and tells her she’s one in a million.
  • Her kids are crazy about her.

So who wouldn’t be overjoyed to have these blessings?

But how did she attain all these benefits of life? Certainly not by insisting that her husband get busy and help do his share of the household chores (though there’s nothing wrong with men helping out), or by sitting around with an idle mind and hands.

She received these blessing by choosing the path of servanthood–making the needs of her family her chief priority, second only to her relationship with Christ.

We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving Him and others, and there is no higher calling than to be a servant.

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“Homemaking”- By, J.R. Miller

While listening to “The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing her Husband’s Vision” by, Douglas Phillips, he mentioned a quote from J.R. Miller entitled “Homemaking”. As I researched and read his passages, I was enthralled at the way he described a godly wife. Our culture has gotten so far away from these Biblical virtues, it saddens me that I do not even recognize some of them when I read them. I think how wonderful it would be if we all were to strive to be more like those that came before us that knew the power of following the Biblical model of womanhood and manhood. Lord willing, may I be worthy to be described as the godly wife in the passage below.
~CM

J.R. Miller-“Homemaking”

One of the first essential elements in a wife is faithfulness, faithfulness, too, in the largest sense. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.” Perfect confidence is the basis of all true affection. A shadow of doubt destroys the peace of married life. A true wife by her character and by her conduct proves herself worthy of her husband’s trust. He has confidence in her affection; he knows that her heart is unalterably true to him. He has confidence in her management; he confides to her the care of his household. He knows that she is true to all his interests – that she is prudent and wise, neither wasteful nor extravagant. It is one of the essential things in a true wife that her husband shall be able to leave in her hands the management of all domestic affairs, and know that they are safe.

Wifely thriftlessness and extravagance have destroyed the happiness of many a household and wrecked many a home. On the other hand, many a man owes his prosperity to his wife’s prudence and her wise administration of household affairs. Every true wife makes her husband’s interests her own. While he lives for her, carrying her image in his heart and toiling for her all the days, she thinks only of what will do him good. When burdens press upon him she tries to lighten them by sympathy, by cheer, by the inspiration of love. She enters with zest and enthusiasm into all his plans. She is never a weight to drag him down; she is strength in his heart to help him ever to do nobler and better things.

A true wife makes a man’s life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love “turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.” While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is noblest and richest in his being. She inspires him with courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path. But it should be understood that for every wife the first duty is the making and keeping of her own home. Her first and best work should be done there, and till it is well done she has no right to go outside to take up other duties. She is to be a “worker at home.” She must look upon her home as the one spot on earth for which she alone is responsible, and which she must cultivate well for God if she never does anything outside. For her the Father’s business is not attending Dorcas societies, and missionary meetings, and mother’s meetings, and temperance conventions, or even teaching a Sunday school class, until she has made her own home all that her wisest thought and best skill can make it.

There have been wives who in their zeal for Christ’ work outside have neglected Christ’s work inside their own doors. They have had eyes and hearts for human need and human sorrow in the broad fields lying far out, but neither eye nor heart for the work of live close about their own feet. The result has been that while they were doing angelic work in the lanes and streets, the angels were mourning over their neglected duties within the hallowed walls of their own homes. While they were winning a place in the hearts of the poor or the sick or the orphan, they were losing their rightful place in the hearts of their own household. Let it be remembered that Christ’s work in the home is the first that he gives to every wife, and that no amount of consecrated activities in other spheres will atone in this world or the next for neglect or failure there. It is in her own home that this warmth of heart and this openness of hand are first to be shown. It is as wife and mother that her gentleness performs its most sacred ministry. Her hand wipes away the tear drops when there is sorrow. In sickness she is the tender nurse. She bears upon her own heart every burden that weighs upon her husband. No matter how the world goes with him during the day, when he enters his own door he meets the fragrant atmosphere of love. Other friends may forsake him, but she clings to him with unalterable fidelity. When gloom comes down and adversity falls upon him, her faithful eyes look ever into his like two stars of hope shining in the darkness. When his heart is crushed, beneath her smile it gathers itself again into strength, “like a wind torn flower in the sunshine.”

“You cannot imagine,” wrote De Tocqueville of his wife, “what she is in great trials. So it is in the dark hours of a man’s life, when burdens press, when sorrow weigh like mountains upon his soul, when adversities have left him crushed and broken, or when he is in the midst of fierce struggles which try the strength of every fibre of his manhood, that all the radiance and glory of a true wife’s strengthful love shine out before his eyes. Only then does he recognize in her God’s angel of mercy. In sickness, how thoughtful, how skillful, how gentle a nurse is the true wife! In struggles with temptation or adversity or difficulty, what an inspirer she is! In misfortune or disaster, what lofty heroism does she exhibit and what courage does her bravery kindle in her husband’s heart! Instead of being crushed by the unexpected loss, she only then rises to her full grandeur of soul. Instead of weeping, repining and despairing, and thus adding tenfold to the burden of the misfortune, she cheerfully accepts the changed circumstances and becomes a minister of hope and strength. She turns away from luxury and ease to the plainer home, the simpler life, the humbler surroundings, without a murmur. It is in such circumstances and experiences that the heroism of woman’s soul is manifested. Many a man is carried victoriously through misfortune and enabled to rise again, because of the strong inspiring sympathy and the self forgetting help of his wife; and many a man fails in fierce struggle, and rises not again from the defeat of misfortune, because the wife at his side proves unequal to her opportunity.

These are words that every wife should ponder. Every home should be a Bethesda, “a house of mercy,” where the suffering, the weary, the sorrowing, the tempted, the tried, the fallen, may ever turn sure of sympathy, of help and of love’s holiest fruits. A true wife gives her husband her fullest confidence. She hides nothing from him. She gives no pledge of secrecy which will seal her lips in his presence. She listens to no words of admiration from others which she may not repeat to him. She expresses to him every feeling, every hope, every desire and yearning, every joy or pain. Then while she utters every confidence in his ear she is most careful to speak in no other ear any word concerning the sacred inner life of her home. Are there little frictions or grievances in the wedded life? Has her husband fault which annoys her or causes her pain? Does he fail in this duty or that? Do differences arise which threaten the peace of the home? In the feeling of disappointment and pain, smarting under a sense of injury, a wife may be strongly tempted to seek sympathy by telling her trials to some intimate friends. Nothing could be more fatal to her own truest interest and to the hope of restored happiness and peace in her home. Grievances complained of outside remain unhealed sores. The wise wife will share her secret of unhappiness with none but her Master, while she strives in every way that patient love can suggest to remove the causes of discord or trouble.

 

When Titus 2 Women May Be Hard to Find

http://www.poffclan.blogspot.mx/2013/04/when-titus-2-women-may-be-hard-to-find.html

 I watched my Emma carry Elijah outside today. She was “wearing” him, running sometimes, grinning big, simply delighting in him. She could teach me and other Moms a few things about being in the moment.

 

My thoughts flashed forward as I imagined her with her own children one day. The tears came as I thought of the loveliness of it all. And the tears came because I know she’ll meet resistance. I might not always be there to whisper, “Well done, my daughter. Make a home for your family. Love your husband. Delight in these children. Welcome His gifts and train them up for His glory.”

The tears came because I think when she’s older a Titus 2 woman might be hard to find. She’ll look around her, even in church, perhaps especially in church, and she’ll see women who have pursued their own glory, who will tell her that for all these years, Scripture has been misunderstood, that women being home-centered, marrying and bearing children, was only a “cultural” thing that we’re no longer called to because of our “freedom” in Christ Jesus.

She’ll look around and find mothers who never found it God-honoring enough to wipe noses and prepare meals and disciple little hearts or wear out the carpet with their knees bowed before the Lord. She’ll find the women who little valued having their children rise up and call them blessed, who instead longed to have the praise of the world, the validation and cheering on of other women, who couldn’t wait to do something else to give their lives more “meaning.”

She’ll find women whose divided hearts have come full-circle as they embrace and dish out feminism, the Christian re-mix version, of course, sanitized, not so overtly offensive, but still reeking of self and echoing that famous question, “Did God really say?”


What happens when mothers who have already raised their children think homemaking and babies and newlyweds have nothing to do with them? When they pursue so many interests that they’re never available, or they wrap themselves up so much in the study of their Bibles that their practical theology is anything but practical to the wife and mother who wants to know how to function on four hours of sleep or make a meal for 8 or heal a diaper rash or soothe a colicky baby?

There’s a void. An emptiness. And all women suffer because of it.

I’m in the middle–old enough to be a Titus 2 woman to some, and yet, still needing the encouragement of older Titus 2 women. Instead of finding Titus 2 exhortations, I’m watching older women distance themselves so much from home-centered living that they recoil at the thought of teaching the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be discreet and chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.

I’m watching women dismiss our home-centered calling as they insist on blurring the distinctive roles God has given men and women, sometimes in the name of being “Gospel-focused,” as though biblical womanhood is void of the Gospel dwelling in us richly.

As we age, our eyesight dims. But perhaps we need to be more concerned about losing sight of our Titus 2 responsibilities and being blinded by post-modern lies that leave us disqualified to teach the younger women.

Yes. A good Titus 2 woman might be hard to find, so what are we to do?

1) We can study what the Word says about biblical womanhood, with our daughters. Expose them to and discuss the distortions of womanhood (including the ones that declare a girl shouldn’t be educated, etc.), that they would not be taken captive by man’s wisdom or lean on their own understanding.

2) We can pray for God’s abundant provision of Titus 2 women in our daughters’ lives, women who have a love for home and who desire to share their love of sound doctrine, favorite parenting tips, and recipes or crafting skills.

3) We can give them mobile teachers, books written by sound Titus 2 authors who will encourage them when the pressure and negativity from without weighs heavy on them.

4) We can confidently teach them to be home-centered, not wavering or doubting or changing position with every new book or blog post we read. We can ground them in the Word of God and teach them well while they are with us how to manage a home, feast regularly on the Word, use their gifts to the glory of God for their families and church and community, learn new skills, love and serve others.

5) We can remind them that biblical womanhood goes against the grain, that many women, Christian women, chafe and writhe under it. They will meet resistance, and they will often feel very alone.

6) We must model contentment and joy in our own callings as wives and mothers, examining our hearts for remnants of feminist-shaped ideology that have contaminated our theology and influenced the vision of womanhood we’re passing to our daughters.

7) We must remember this duty to be Titus 2 women, and be available to the younger women around us, offering them encouragement and wisdom from our years as a wife and mother. We can guard against the belief that it’s holier to spend hours a day in the Word than it is to teach a younger woman how to plan meals for her family or refrain from being a busybody. (We would never think it wise of a man to neglect his work to study the Word so that he leaves his family without an income, and yet we often pressure women to do deep theological studies while their children remain unfed, the clothes aren’t done, and thoughtful food prep isn’t taking place. I’m not speaking of basic feasting and meditating on the Word, which is what most younger Moms only have time for.)

“It is doubtful that the Apostle Paul had in mind Bible classes or seminars or books when he spoke of teaching younger women. He meant the simple things, the everyday example, the willingness to take time from one’s own concerns to pray with the anxious mother, to walk with the way of the cross–with its tremendous demands of patience, selflessness, lovingkindness–and to show her, in the ordinariness of Monday through Saturday, how to keep a quiet heart.

These lessons will come perhaps most convincingly through rocking a baby, doing some mending, cooking a supper, or cleaning a refrigerator. Through such an example, one young woman–single or married, Christian or not–may glimpse the mystery of charity and the glory of womanhood, so perfectly exemplified in the response of a humble village girl of long ago when she said: ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:38).”
~Elisabeth Elliot

With love,
Trisha