Hey! I was just wondering what you might say to someone who would say this: “The Bible says, ‘Go into all the world to preach the gospel,’ not, ‘go into all your house and preach the gospel.'” I’m just wondering. =)
Hudson Taylor once said that “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” As children of the Most High, we have been given a sobering command from Jesus Christ:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20
If you are a young woman whose desire is to be the helper suitable of a godly, visionary man someday -if you want to raise your children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord day by day -if you want to homeschool them, taking primary responsibility for their education -if you are a young woman who is committed to her family’s vision, who prizes her father’s protection and her mother’s discipleship… eventually, somewhere along the line, you’re going to get the question: “Where does all this ‘home-talk’ fit in with the Great Commission?”
For me, whenever I receive that question, I always point out, foremost, that Matthew 28:19-20 is not the only passage in God’s Word. Titus 2:3-5, Proverbs 31:10-31, Ephesians 5:22ff, Ephesians 6:1-4, Deuteronomy 6, 1 Peter 3:1-6 tell us that the Christian family is to be a priority to God’s people. While I do not contend that it isn’t of equal importance to minister outside of the home as well, the very requirements for ministers of God’s Word show us that if we haven’t been faithful ministering to the families we’ve been given, we aren’t worthy of the position of elder (1 Timothy 4:4-5). We do know that not everyone has been blessed with a family that encourages their Christian convictions, and some have had to break ties because of that (Matthew 10:34-39, Psalm 27:10), but if we belong to a family of God’s people, we have been given an incredible blessing.
Our second question should be how are you defining ‘your home?’ As young women who are striving to exemplify biblical femininity, the home should hold a cherished place in our hearts. However, in the twenty-first century, homes have become merely places to recharge before heading out to our real lives on the outside. We work eight to twelve hours a day, or we’re in school eight hours with extracurricular activities and a part-time job afterwards, we seek our entertainment outside of the home, and we seek our identity outside of our home… when I think about what the typical American idea of a home is, I understand why most people wrinkle their nose at the idea of those “poor, restless women” who, whether because they have been forced to live there or because their too cossetted to have any ambition beyond those four drab walls or because they lack exposure to alternative lifestyles, decide to live there.
Imagine, though, a different sort of place: home as a hub for ministry and discpleship. Home: where children are brought up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, diligently trained to impact the world outside of their doors. Home: headquarters for visionary men to lead and inspire their families. Home: the domain of visionary women who desire to bless their families, their churches, and their communities. Home: a place where those who understand the critical importance of a strong, biblically-functioning family unit to the well-being of society flourish.
I love to read 1 Timothy 5:9-10:
Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.
Now, I am certainly not an older widow, but this sixty-year-old woman is a sight to behold; in her youth, she cherished the beauty of Proverbs 31: she was the loving wife of her husband (Proverbs 31:11), and she had a reputation for good works (Proverbs 31:31). She brought up children (Proverbs 31:28), has shown hospitality, ministered to the saints, and cared for the afflicted (Proverbs 31:20), and she has devoted herself to every good work. By the time she was sixty, she had a reputation as an active member of her community and a capable manager of her home.
This doesn’t mean that women should never leave their homes. The Proverbs 31 woman had to travel to minister to others, to do business on her husband’s behalf, to further his estate, and to reach out to the needy. She was a talented woman who used her gifts to bless her family (Proverbs 31:24). She wasn’t afraid of hard work (Proverbs 31:17), and she was brave (Proverbs 31:21) and creative (Proverbs 22). This does not sound to me like the type of woman who could be stuck in a box!
When we understand what the biblical home looks like, how a biblical family operates, it allows us to use the home as a springboard to reach out to others. The most obvious way I can think to do this would be to show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13): visiting missionaries who need a place to stay -unchurched neighbors -those in need. We use it to train up children who may set up their homes in other states or on other continents as a headquarters for ministry (Psalm 127). Planting our households in foreign countries to devote our lives to ministry there. We use it as a place to recharge and refocus after we have been out doing ministry in the community.I am just as passionate about cultural renewal as the next person, but if that renewal doesn’t start where we live, we’ve missed a spot.
My family has had the unique opportunity of traveling all over the world as my father preaches the gospel, even living overseas for a year. My brother Trey alone has been to Zambia, South Africa, Germany, Ireland, Romania, and several other countries to minister to others (although he was too young to journey forth when Daddy went to Japan, and he is ever regretful). The countries we have traveled to have been extremely diverse, in culture, in ethnicity, in language… but everywhere we go, we can be sure of one thing: we’re going to find families. Part of making disciples of the nations is teaching them “to observe all that [Jesus] ha[s] commanded [us].” That includes a biblical vision for the home. And a truly biblical home’s influence reaches out beyond its walls to the culture around it, with the godly women who understand the beauty of a homeward calling on the front lines.