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Podcast question: Rick, thank you so much for your articles. I am so grateful when I get them on your Facebook Page. I have an issue with which I hope you can help me. How do I express to my wife how invaluable and God-glorifying her ministry is at home? She feels like she is not doing her part to reach the world for Christ. I am so thankful that she wants to have her ministry, but I want her to understand how important her role is at home to God, to our child and me. Any suggestions?
If reaching the world for Christ was our primary or only responsibility, I would say that being a stay-at-mom could be problematic. However, I do not see the “Great Commission” as the Christian’s sole responsibility.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. – Matthew 28:19
Remember in this text Jesus was talking to the eleven disciples. They were the ones He charged to carry the message throughout the known world at that time. Though we should be telling others about Christ, it would not be accurate to say He was telling us to do what He told the eleven disciples to do precisely.
That would be poor exegesis. While you can make an application that we should tell others about Christ, the Savior was talking to a specific group of people at a particular time in history.
I am not marginalizing the Great Commission. That is not my intent, but I do want to put the “commission” within a proper biblical framework for you and your wife.
The New Testament would make a stronger case for building up your local church than going into all the world. How is your wife serving her friends within her local church or small group? At this point in her life, she could have an impact on her friends who have young children.
One of the questions I would want to explore with your wife is the source of her guilt or shame. There seems to be a “kind of guilt” that is not from the Lord. If the guilt were from God, most Christians would be experiencing it because most Christians do not spend the majority of their days reaching the world for Christ.
How is “going into all the world” actually measured anyway? And who does the measuring? Again, if evangelization was the only criteria for measuring true biblical success, we’re all in trouble.
Help walk your wife through what true guilt is. If she is feeling guilty in the way you have described, it is self-imposed guilt, which could be coming from her religious or family cultures. Our loving Father would not do that to her.
I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. – 1 Corinthians 7:7
Paul was teaching how everyone is different. Everyone cannot be like him. While under the inspiration of God, Paul said it was okay to be different in how we live the Christ-life. Paul was trying to debunk a two-tier system within the church, which was part of the “Corinthian error.”
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. – 1 Corinthians 7:17
Your wife has been called to be married. And God has blessed you both with a child. She needs to be free in her conscience to operate within the sphere that God has called her. The Corinthians had a big problem with this perspective. Think through how Jesus measured “success” as observed in an old widow honoring God:
And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. – Mark 12:41-42
I do not care for the word “ministry” in the way many people use it today. This idea can become a two-tier system within the church. Some people believe being “in the ministry” is a better calling than not being “in the ministry.” The Bible does not teach such posturing.
We’re all in Christ, and we all are called to follow Christ regardless of where we are or what we are doing. Living the Christ-life is not primarily about reaching every human for Christ (Great Commission) or doing “religious” projects for God (ministry). God has called you and your wife to live out the Christ-life according to where He has planted you.
Today, her job means being your wife and the mother of the child. That is what this season of life is calling her to. It would be biblically irresponsible to neglect the clear teaching in Scriptures about being a wife and mother.
A person who is not satisfied with where they are is missing the point of where the Lord has them. That was the “Corinthian error.” They had a two-tier system in their “functional Christianity.” Some of the folks in Corinth saw themselves as “super spiritual” because of who they followed.
Others saw themselves as more spiritual because of how much wisdom they possessed. This kind of “not quite satisfied” thinking until I am doing such and such will create a sad soul. Even when our circumstances are not meeting our expectations, you can still be content.
Changing my status update will not make me closer to God. My relationship with God is blessed by how I grow in the Lord. Being in “the ministry” is not a requisite to growing in the Lord.
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. – 2 Corinthians 10:12
Changing one more poopy diaper can be enough to make a person think about the green grass in another field. We’re all tempted that way. I trust you both can talk about such things as envy and jealousy, both of which are forms of anger.