What Does The Bible Say About Christian Working Moms?
I have received many
heartfelt emails from women asking me, “Where
in the Bible does it say, a woman cannot work outside
the home?” Another comment, where are scriptural
articles that do not condemn? I often quickly reply
the Bible does not say a woman cannot work outside the
home. Many of the women in the Bible were leaders among
women and men. Deborah was basically a military commander.
Let’s look at the
Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is often held up as the
prime example of a Godly woman. Here is a list of the
many tasks the Proverbs 31 women completes:
Selects wool and flax and works with eager hands
She brings her food from afar
She gets up while it is dark and provides food for her
and servant girls
Buys a field and out of earnings plants a vineyard
Arms are strong for tasks
Her trading is profitable; lamp does not go out at night
Grasps the spindle with her fingers
Opens her arms to the poor and needy
Keeps children clothed
Makes clothes for herself
Makes linen garments and sells them
Faithful instruction is on her tongue
Watches over affairs of the household
When I look at all this
woman did, frankly I get exhausted. This woman is definitely
a working Mom. She is an administrator, overseeing her
servants. She is selling goods she has made herself
and the scripture says she is profitable.
Also, she buys a field out of her own earnings. Thus,
this woman is making money in order to purchase the
field. One verse I think we all can relate to is the
phrase, “her lamp does not go out at night”.
Certainly, we all have stayed up late trying to complete
Let me make another observation
as well. This woman’s work was outside of the
home. From the description in this chapter it infers
that her work is often at the front gates or in another
field. So, she often had to leave home in order to work.
I would imagine she took her children with her to work
or maybe she and another woman watched each other’s
children. I think that is hard to know for sure.
There were women in the Bible who were successful businesswomen.
Remember, Lydia in the New Testament, she was a seller
of purple cloth. One commentary I read said she had
considerable wealth, because she was able to give a
home to Paul and his companions. Now, I don’t
know if Lydia had children or not, but she obviously
was a successful businesswoman.
Many women in the Old
and New Testament were very good at managing their homes.
Women in the Old Testament would keep the home fires
burning while their husband was off to war. Women even
in the Bible were multi-tasking and had many roles to
fill. Also, probably most of them were teaching their
children as well. So, we could say some women in the
Bible were Working Moms and home schooling as well.
You think we have it tough!!!
When you look at the
Proverbs 31 woman see what the writer has to say about
her. Proverbs 31:28-31, “Her children arise and
call her blessed: her husband also, and he praises her:
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman
who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward
she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at
the city gate.” The woman was praised for all
her roles, not just mother or wife, but her role as
a worker as well.
There are several verses
that are often used to say women cannot work outside
the home. The first is 1 Timothy 5:14, “So I counsel
younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage
their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for
slander.” The part of the verse used is to manage
their home. Ask any CWM if they are managing their home.
They will tell you all the many things they manage.
You can manage your home whether you stay at home or
not. You can also delegate specific tasks, i.e. childcare,
etc. This verse does not specify how to manage your
home, just that it is managed. The second verse that
is often used to say women cannot work outside the home
is Titus 2:4-5, “Then they can train the younger
women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled
and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be
subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign
the word of God.” The part of the verse that is
used to encourage women to stay at home is to be busy
at home. Moms whether they work outside the home or
not are busy at home. Also, women who work outside the
home can still be submissive to their husbands. I also
see the busy at home relating back to the Timothy verse
about managing the home. Ultimately, it is the women’s
responsibility to manage the workings of the home. Does
that mean she has to do everything in the home? No.
It is her responsibility to manage the home and delegate
chores to people in the home or people that work for
her. Look again at the Proverbs 31 women she had servants
that she managed. I imagine those servants were doing
chores for the home.
Sister Christian Working
Moms I cannot find any verse in the Bible that says
a woman cannot work outside the home. If you can find
one, please let me know.
The idea of a mother not working outside the home is
a relatively new concept. Actually, it is considered
a luxury in most parts of the world. Often women in
the history of the United States have worked outside
the home. During World War II many Moms were working
outside the home. So, the idea that generations of children
are being harmed my mothers working outside the home,
is just not true. Moms have been working very hard at
home and outside the home for many years and centuries,
for that matter.
Please do not here me
criticize stay at home Moms. There has been so much
hurt on both sides of the working Mom battle. In fact,
I think Satan has used this issue to divide women in
the church. If you will carefully read the Bible God
worked in many people’s lives in many different
ways. We see Deborah as a military commander, Lydia
– a seller of purple cloth, Ruth and Naomi as
Esther – a rescuer of the Jewish nation and the
list goes on. I think each family has to make a choice
for themselves as what is best for them with direction
from God. There is not a Biblical mandate to stay at
home or work. Sometimes there is no choice and women
must work outside the home and they should not be made
to feel guilty for helping support their families. The
Bible’s message is timeless and covers all cultures.
So, I think it would be wrong to tell a Mom with children
starving in a third world country that she should not
work outside the home and find food for her child. You
may think that argument is ridiculous, but if no Mom
should work outside the home then that should apply
to all Moms. Closely related to this point is the millions
of single Christian Working Moms who are working to
support their children and do not receive child support.
Are they not to work outside the home? Each family has
to make the choice that is best for them and one size
does not fit all. If a family chooses to make the choice
for a Mom to work outside the home they should take
comfort in the knowledge that the Bible does not say
a Mom cannot work outside the home.
In conclusion, you may
all ready know deep down that scripture does not prevent
a Mom from working outside the home. Yet, how do you
handle the pressure from people at church or others
who “make” you feel guilty. Ultimately,
all Christians are to serve God and not man. I would
challenge you to ask people to show you the Bible verses
that say you cannot work outside the home. The Bible
is where we get our answers from and our guidance. Secondly,
I would encourage you to pray about your decision and
ask for clear direction and peace for your decision.
Third, once you have made your decision do not spend
time worrying and fretting about your decision. We are
told to cast all our anxiety on Him for he cares for
us. Give your worry to God and leave it there. Fourthly,
a caution to men as well as women our priorities always
have to be in order. God is first, family second, and
then work is much farther down the priority list. No
one should put their career ahead of God. In 1 Timothy
he talked about managing the home. We all need to keep
our priorities straight.
My ultimate prayer is
women whether working or not would come together and
agree we all want to raise Godly children who worship
and glorify our God. That is something we can agree
on whether we stay at home or work outside the home.
God wants us to come together as sisters in Christ to
teach our children to be worshippers of God. The ground
is level at the cross and there is not a separate section
for working Moms and stay at home Moms. God loves us
all the same. Please hear that last point, God loves
us all the same. I had one Christian Working Mom write
me to say sometimes it just feels that God loves the
stay at home Moms more. I heard her painful comment
and wept when I read it. God loves you dear sister and
what he wants most is for all of us to glorify him in
everything we do, whether we work outside the home or
Kimberly M. Chastain, MS, LMFT is the Christian Working
Mom Coach and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
She is the author of 2 ebooks and an online Bible study.
You can find more information at www.christianworkingmom.com.
For a free, initial coaching session send an email to