Is it biblically acceptable for a mother to hold a full-time job outside of the home? This was a question asked of Pastor John a few years back, and this is what he had to say.
It can be. I would say “outside of the home” is a complex statement. It was complex early on — only after the Industrial Revolution were home and work separated, by and large. Everywhere there was an agrarian culture where home and work were just together.
If all the kids are weaving 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 are working the garden, are you home? All of that to say, the very question is ambiguous, and it is still ambiguous today, right? My niece has a full-time job, but her office is in her home. She works for a company three states away.
Full-Time Ministry — At Home
Having said it can be biblically acceptable, I want to discourage it. I want to discourage it because mothering and homemaking are huge and glorious jobs. What children need at age one, five, six, fourteen, and eighteen is simply amazing. And it is amazing what it calls forth from a woman’s creativity and a woman’s heart and a woman’s mind personally for each one of these little ones that are coming along, or just the home here where ministry can happen.
You are not enslaved by anybody’s clock. You can say, “I want to work my tail off for King Jesus. And I don’t want anybody to pay me for it. I am going to do it right there in this neighborhood with my husband’s connections and my connections. We are going to lavish grace on people’s lives.” So when I say, don’t work full time if you have got a family, I am calling for full-time ministry: Turn your family into ministry. Turn your full-time ministry at home 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 a home.
So those are the kinds of dreams I want to offer to the younger women that are coming along, so that they don’t think, “Oh, if I don’t get a career and make lots of money and get equal pay and time and everything, I have 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. And who knows what all God might be pleased to do.