“My work is never done.”
We’ve all said it. We’ve all heard it. All women, no matter your station in life, know this to be true.
Before the fall of creation due to sin, work was instituted by God (Genesis 2:15). Think about that for a moment. In Genesis we find that, before the fall, God put man into the garden to work and that He called all that He’d created very good. This helps us see that work had a good purpose before becoming compromised by the curse as part of the punishment for our sin.
This gives a new perspective to the idea of work. You see, since each of us experience our daily work through the broken state of sinful flesh in a fallen creation, it can be quite easy to consider work to be unpleasant – even a curse.
And you’d be right, in a sense, but this is only a partial view of the big picture.
God did curse our work, causing it to be intertwined with pain and difficulties. He tells us that it will be by the sweat of our faces that we will eat bread (Genesis 3:19), but in this verse God has left us with a promise regarding our work that we’d be blessed to remember as well. God has indeed punished our sin by making work sorrowful in many ways, but through it we will eat food. God has not left us without hope in His discipline.
In the book of Proverbs we find promises and warnings regarding our work. That, while it is hard, there is reward, protection, and even joy to be had through it. We are told that all our plans will be established when we commit our work to the Lord!
Promise after promise, warning after warning. Yes, work has been affected by the curse, but through it there are still great blessings to be reaped.
Did you know that God has given special promises specifically to women with regard to work?
We as women are referred to in scripture as the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). We also know, from this verse, that women are no less than equal in value to men, though, the fact remains that we are indeed weaker in certain ways. So how are we to protect ourselves in light of these weaknesses?
I’d love to show you the scriptures that have been on my heart, tying together this idea that work is good, it holds great promises of protection, and some of those promises are unique to women and ought to be cherished by us.
Paul instructs older women to be teaching the younger women in many things. Amongst this list is the command for younger women to be working at home.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:3-5)
God’s Word also tells us that when a woman is widowed, if she is young, it is good that she remarry. Paul explains several examples of the sins young single women struggle with when they don’t have the protection of the consuming work associated with serving a husband and children or running a home.
“Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” (1 Timothy 5:13-14)
Hmm, does this sound like you? It sure sounds like me when I toss my responsibilities as a wife and mother onto the back burner of life so I can slip into the world of Facebook – literally…virtually… “going about from house to house”…to be idle, often times falling into gossip or, at the very least, reading it.
Meanwhile, my children are left without discipline, my husband is left without a helper, and I have missed the deeper, lasting joys of delighting in my children while they grow and play. Yes, work can be a very real protection against gossip. But it can also build up our homes and fulfill us in ways social media can only hint at.
Now, I understand that these specific scripture passages refer to the responsibilities and work associated with married life and motherhood; however, before I was married, and even a mother, I was weak in all the same ways as a single woman that I am now. Work was still a protection in many ways although, at the time, I did not have the specific work of raising children or loving a husband.
Serving God through my work has become a form of worship – a time consuming form of worship – and there is great blessing and protection to be had when we do our work unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24) .
You may not be a mother. You may not even be a wife. But as women, we are all a part of the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-24) and can find endless ways to submit to our husband, Christ, and to serve God’s children – our brothers and sisters in Christ – in our homes and in the world around us.
Let us cultivate a heart to work, remembering that work is indeed good and to be enjoyed! Through work we will find protection from opportunities to sin, and by it we will see our husbands built up, our children trained in righteousness, and our God glorified and honored!