Is It Okay for Mothers to Work Full-Time Outside of the Home?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Is it biblically acceptable for a mother to hold a full time job outside of the home?
It can be. It is like the alcohol question, it can be.
In fact I would say, outside of the home is a complex statement. Only after the industrial revolution was home and work separated, by and large. Everywhere there is an agrarian kind of culture, home and work are together. If all the kids are weaving the baskets that you sell to make a living, are you home? If the garden around the house is what supports the family and the husband is out there building a barn, and you're doing this, are you home?
All that is to say the very question is ambiguous, and it is today. My niece has a full time job, and her office is in her home. She works for a company three states away.
Having said it can be, I want to discourage it because mothering and homemaking are huge and glorious jobs. What children need at age one, five, six, fourteen, eighteen is simply amazing, and so is what those needs call forth from a woman's creativity and heart and mind, personally for each one of these little ones that are coming along.
And, just being able to focus on the home where ministry can happen—not being enslaved by anybody's clock—you can say, "I want to work my tail off for king Jesus, but I don't want anybody to pay me for it. I'm going to do it right here in this neighborhood with my husband's connections and my connections. We're going to lavish grace on people's lives."
So, I'm calling for ministry full-time when I say "don't work full-time if you have a family." Turn your family into ministry. Turn your family into a global dream for what this family might become, or what this man might be, or what we might be together as we are home.
Those are the kind of dreams I want to offer the younger women that are coming along so that they don't think, "If I don't get a career and make lots of money and be equal with men in pay and time and everything, I've somehow sold out to something small or something that doesn't require intellectual capabilities."
It is a great and glorious calling to be a mother and a homemaker and a wife and a neighborhood make-it-happen kind of person and a church minister. Who knows what God might be pleased to do.
©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org