March 28, 2007 Homebuilders
FINDING JOY AND CONTENTMENT IN HOME LIFE
The title of our discussion today is Finding Joy and Contentment in Home Life. As a way of introduction, we would like to consider our subject in two areas.
The first area in our role as wives and mothers in the home. And secondly, how to experience joy and contentment in that role.
This is a very relevant and important subject. It is and has been under attack in a very real way in our society, especially in the last forty years. I believe Satan is well aware that if we let our guards down in this area, he has gotten his foot in the door of our homes.
We want to define what our role is as wives and mothers. Starting in Genesis after God created Adam and Eve , He said in chapter 2 verse 24 :"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife and they two shall be one flesh." We see the beginning of the first home. A short while later after Adam and Eve sinned, God was speaking again in chapter 3 -starting at verse 16-19. (Read from Bible) These verses confirm the role of fathers and husbands that their responsibility is to provide for the physical needs of their wife and family. In Genesis 9:1 God said to Noah and his sons: "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." And so we've had homes down through the centuries of time which consist of a father, a mother, and children.
Proverbs 31 describes a virtuous woman- looking after her household, caring for the needs of her children and husband. I will start reading at verse 10 to verse 27. These verses give us something to strive for. Probably few woman ever attain such lofty ideals, but we can still try to do our best. Verses 13 to 24 speak of meeting physical needs of the family and of physical work. Then in verses 25 and 26 speaks of her character and spiritual qualities.
Now, going to the New Testament (we are thinking about what our role is) Titus 2:3-5. We as older woman need to teach the younger. We need to prepare them for their place in the home. We'll be referring to these verses again.
I Timothy 5:14: "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide. the house, give none occasion for the adversary to speak reproachfully. Are we convinced that the Bible defines clearly that our place is in the home and this is what God expects of us? Do the influences of our day affect us? Sadly to say they do! As a child growing up in the 1950's and attending public school, I don't remember of any of my classmates whose mothers worked at a job. Even all the neighbors around us( at least 10-15 families up and down our road) none of the mothers worked outside the home. In our church, which was a large conference, to my knowledge no wives or mothers worked away. In the 1960's there was a push for getting an education going to college to prepare for a career. And then came the women's liberation and equal rights. Women started working away from home and their preschoolers went to day care or many chose not to be bothered with children. How does it make you feel when one neighbor is a doctor? ( By the way, neither her children nor her dog listened to her) The one beside them has been an R. N. for 40 years. ( She is divorced and remarried) The next one has a secretary job. Her child is in preschool. And the young women in the fabulous house around the corner is a real estate agent. I don't know what percent of mothers work at a job, but I believe it's quite high. Why? For the most part, they want greater buying power. More money to spend. Do we feel we're just a housewife and feel intimidated when they find out we have 4,6,8,or 10 children? Or do we praise our Heavenly Father for the true liberation we have and are we thankful for our place and work at home. Even yet when I meet old friends or extended family and we start comparing our lives, they will ask me how many grandchildren we have. When I tell them 23, they express amazement and do I also see pity in their faces?
Secondly now, we want to consider Joy and Contentment. Joy is a must for every Christian in our everyday lives. The word Joy is found about 170 times in the Bible and if we include joyous or joyful there are many more. Contentment is mentioned about 30 times. I went to the dictionary and Joy means to experience great pleasure or delight. Contentment is to feel satisfied with our status or situation. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 reads like this:"But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance. A couple verses that speak about contentment is Hebrews 13:15 :"Let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as ye have for He hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."Philippians 4:11 Paul says :"Not that I speak in respect of want for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content."So we could say, our desire should be to find great pleasure, (Joy) and feel satisfied with our situation in the home. I like the account of the Shunamite woman. II Kings 4 reading verses 8-13. I like that phrase "I dwell among my own people" She was experiencing contentment.
Joy and contentment is an attitude, a thought pattern. We must choose to be thankful for our place in the home. Our joy is tested in adverse circumstance- the trial of sick children, the huge laundry piles, bushels of tomatoes to can, trying to stay within the budget, constant meal preparation, and the list could go on. You could probably name many more from your own experience. Do you choose to be cheerful and thankful? I believe if you are cheerful and thankful, you will be finding joy and contentment in home life.
Now I'd like to focus on how to achieve this goal. The goal of finding Joy and contentment in home life. Now I'd like to again refer to Titus 2:3-5 where it says older women should teach the younger. We see grandmothers are to be an example or role model to mothers and mothers have a responsibility to their daughters to teach them to enjoy homemaking, to prepare them for"guiding the house." I know we all don't enjoy the same things. Some sisters prefer cooking over cleaning or some enjoy sewing more than others. But we need to do many things we don't particularly care for. And our daughters should not have to learn everything about the house when they many. Maybe it would be best if through their teenage years they would help young mothers instead of getting jobs. I knew of some parents who had and have that goal and I believe it is a very worthwhile goal. Also, the phrase"to love their husbands, to love their children ", often the way you relate to your husband and children is the way your daughters will relate to their husbands and children. When I was a young mother, I liked to observe the older sisters and I tried to learn something from each. Some I wanted to be like and some I didn't want to be like.
Another way to achieve our goal of finding joy and contentment is to be thankful for each child that came into our home. Psa. 113:9 "He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children" Psa. 127:3,4 "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of the youth." These scriptures, and there could be others, show us how God views children, and when they are placed in our home, we have full time work to teach and train them. A little poem that was given to me on a motto as a baby gift went like this," Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow for babies grow up we learned to our sorrow- So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep." Our children know if they are loved and come before a sparkling clean house. Consider it a privilege to make a difference in the lives of each family member. The influence of a mother is immeasurable. We are molding future church members, school teachers, church leaders, and members of society. Spend time with them, read to small children, talk to them, listen to them, and answer their questions. I know a mother with seven children, and each of them felt like they were special to her. When emotional needs are met when they are small, they are better prepared to face life.
Maybe another way to find Joy and Contentment in home life is to stay at home more. We live in such a fast-paced age where we go, go, go. Don't cut back on church services. Let's keep our priorities straight. But are we going on another shopping trip? That's the second day this week. Or are we going to home parties? Many of these appeal to our lustful nature and make us feel like we need things we would really be better off without. My mother didn't have a car at her disposal. After we were married first, I couldn't leave home unless it was planned. We only had one car and my husband needed that for work. Now, most of us have a vehicle to use whenever we wish. We can see how many living standards changed and the challenge it brings.
Joy is found also in serving others. Open your home to schoolteachers as you are able. Visit the elderly in your congregation. Make a meal for a new mother. Contentment is living within your budget. Don't expect to have all the material goods someone else has. That is a good place not to compare ourselves with others. I Timothy 6:6-8 "But godliness with contentment is great gain- For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content."
I have also listed some rewards of having Joy and Contentment in home life. Here I'd like to read the verse in Proverbs 31:28 "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also and praiseth her." Presently-A smooth running home. If mother is happy the rest of the family will probably be too. A relaxed atmosphere- meals on time and everyone looking forward to Daddy coming home.
In the future- Having good memories of putting our all into home life. When we look back, we should have fewer regrets. We won't need to think if only I could do it over, If only I had done more of this or that. Also seeing our children prospering in their home life and seeing them making a contribution to church life and society. We can see our labor did make a difference.
And then the eternal rewards- HI John verse four: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Matthew 25: 21,23-the parable of the talents. We want to hear the words. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Also Revelations 22:14 "Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city."
I am going to read a poem that paints a picture of the mystery of life - how quickly and swiftly time brings change. Credit for the poem goes to Family Life- author unknown.
TIME BRINGS CHANGES
Today there is so much to do:
But the children slow me down.
When it's time to make breakfast
The baby cries
The two-year-old clings to me
The older ones argue.
My progress is very slow.
The daily tasks mount higher
My energy is almost gone.
Sometimes it seems that all I can do is
And fall asleep myself
When the baby is sleeping.
Evening comes. I long for rest but
The children need baths
They call for a snack
They beg for a story
These little ones slow me down.
The hands of the clock
Like the pace of time
Move steadily forward.
There are no preschoolers
To be held and rocked, to slow me down.
With aching heart I see
My children, my teenagers
Once so small and helpless
No longer need their mother's hands
As much as they need her prayers.
And then the children are grown
Their steps and hands move quickly
But l am old and frail
Grant them patience, Lord
To care for me when I slow them down.
You see, we are the liberated women because we are in God's will and are fulfilling
His plan for us and our families.
May God bless each of you in your effort to be joyful and content in your place in the home.
- Martha Zimmerman