In our prior lesson, we started considering a list of 37 things a homemaker can do. In addition to reading the Bible daily, praying daily, fasting regularly, memorizing Scripture, laboring to win souls to Christ, studying with other Christian women weekly, and preparing devotionals for her children, a homemaker can...
I am convinced that a mother of average intelligence and ability who spends 20 to 40 hours a week out in the work place could use that same energy and teach her children at home successfully at a fraction of the cost of tuition at a Christian school. Plus, the mother relearns all the subjects as her child learns at his or her own pace. To teach is to learn twice. Additionally, the benefit of being the greatest influence in the lives of your children cannot be overestimated. If you really desire it, you could educate your children at home.
Can you think of more things to add to this list? There is so much good a homemaker can do for the Lord, her husband, her children, and herself.
HOW ABOUT A HOME-BASED BUSINESS?
It is wise for every family to have a good perspective on their financial standing. Here are three suggestions to consider:
1. Have a written budget that is updated at least once a year. Kohl made a bold point in his original booklet by declaring: "Whenever I have worked out a budget for someone, I have proven to them, without exception, that they can make it on the net salary of the husband of the house and they didn't need to both work outside the home." Although I can imagine some exceptions, I believe the point here is well made. If a family is willing to make radical changes in their lifestyle, one income will typically be enough--even if that income isn't exceedingly large. And, there is another way to generate extra income (which we will consider in a moment) without a Christian mother working for someone else outside the home.
Families with their finances in order are generally more at peace than those who don't. Financial strain is the number one cause of divorce, separation, and marital misery, but it doesn't have to be that way. Jehovah is a God of order, perfect order. We should endeavor to keep our finances in order. Having a written budget and sticking to it helps a lot. You might be surprised at what you can do with so little if you have and keep a budget.
2. Give God His portion. When you're making your budget, don't leave the Lord out! Although the New Testament does not specify how much a Christian should give, we are instructed to give generously from cheerful hearts. I am confident you could give God at least 10% of your gross income (even if you make very little) if you decide to do so. Proverbs 3:9,10 states - "Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine." Let me encourage you to also consider the following additional passages and read them slowly and deliberately on this theme of giving to God: Malachi 3:8-11, Luke 6:38, I Corinthians 16:1,2, & II Corinthians 9:6-9.
3. What about a home-based business? Most women have an ability that could be turned into a profit. They can work out of their home when it is convenient. They can teach their children these skills while teaching their children business and fiscal responsibility also. When a mother works outside the home, the children receive no experience. When a mother works inside the home, the child observes her industriousness and can be incorporated into the business, learning skills and valuable financial principles.
How sad to see so many teenagers today who begin to earn money at sixteen years old, for example, and by the time they are twenty they are deep in debt. How sad to see children and teens who earn money or are given money and they spend it all. There is no discipline to save or give to God. This is because mom and dad have failed to teach their children fiscal responsibility.
A home-based business can change that. Mom, think--what do your children know right now about finances that you personally have taught them? Are they prepared, or being prepared, for the rest of their lives when they will have to control money or be controlled by it? The truth will set anyone free, but money can put a person in slavery for the rest of their lives if they haven't learned how to control it.
Although our lessons this week have been focused on being a Christian mother, let's slip back to the Old Testament for a bit. If time permitted, we would read and analyze Proverbs 31:10-31. Is this passage not a description of an industrious, hard-working woman, whose home is the base for her business activities? The text speaks of her buying a field, making things to sell, etc. Why does she do all of this? Answer: "She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness" (Prov. 31:27). She hasn't forsaken the home by being such a hard-working woman. Rather, she is watching out for her husband and children and their best interests via her diligent business pursuits!
One note of caution is in order here: a home-based business can become a great distraction to the wonderful things that could be done for God by a mother (e.g., the list of 37 things described previously). A home-based business may not be needed. Your husband's income may be plenty to live on and a home-based business would just keep you from doing something better or more eternally productive with your time.
Ask the Lord and your husband first before starting a home-based business. You don't want to make the mistake of teaching your children that making money is the most important thing in life. Don't miss motherhood for money!
Kohl read a poll of working mothers taken back in 1993. They were asked many questions, but the one that interested him the most was this: "What is the greatest emotion you deal with as a working mother?" The answer was almost unanimous: "GUILT!"
From the Buffalo News, dated September 30, 1994, here is part of an article written by a lady named Marie Cocco:
It sprang from my 4-year-old's mouth the other day, just after his errant behavior had been punished with a week long ban on eating sweets. "I'm going to take away privileges, Mommy," he shot back. "You're going to lose your going-back-to-work privilege!" That is how Matthew views my return to work after six months of maternity leave: a privilege he'd like to wrest from me as punishment. In his defiant anger, he shot a guilt-tipped dart to my heart...
Why the guilt among working mothers? I can't say personally, but my own experience with guilt is that I tend to feel guilt when I am guilty. Although our consciences are sometimes wrong (due to being misinformed), anytime we have feelings of guilt we should stop and seriously consider what we are doing. I have yet to meet a stay-at-home mother who has felt guilty about being a wife and a mother. She may feel "unfulfilled" to some degree, if the world has been playing with her head, but she doesn't feel guilty.
Often a lady feels as though "just" being a wife and mother is a waste of a life. She feels unfulfilled. She feels as though she is not contributing. Sadly, she is worldly-minded and her sense of value is in dollars and cents, not in the praise of God. She measures her worth in tangible things like a paycheck rather than intangible things like faith, obedience, and glorifying the Lord. Dear godly women, money is the cheapest of all blessings! God has already declared that your price is "far above rubies" (Prov. 31:10). Accept that by faith. Don't sacrifice the "far above rubies" value of a wife and mother for the pursuit of money!
These are sobering thoughts, moms (and dads, indirectly). Don't be satisfied doing what is good for your family; seek to do what is best. Have a Biblical basis for everything you do and don't do. The time you spend as a homemaker in serving God, your husband, and your children is invaluable!
Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.