But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that … the older women … be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.(Tit 2:1-5)
Last week we considered once again Paul’s admonitions to the younger women in the congregation at Crete. We found that Paul expects them – along with all other Christians – to orient their lives around the Triune God. They are to be discreet, chaste, and good – all traits which point to the Triune God and urge us to put Him and His Word at the center. Rather than orienting our lives around what Eugene Peterson calls the modern Unholy Trinity of our Holy Needs, Holy Wants, and Holy Feelings, Paul urges younger women to orient their lives around the Holy Trinity.
Today we consider the orientation that Paul expects from younger women. He commands that younger women be instructed “to love their husbands, to love their children, to be…homemakers, obedient to their own husbands.” Notice that each of Paul’s admonitions orients the life of younger women around the home. Paul admonition assumes, of course, that these younger women are married and that they likely have children. So let us make a few observations from this text for those of you women who are married and/or have children at home.
In the beginning, when God created them male and female, he created the woman to be a help to the man in his calling. God had given the man and the woman together an immense task – to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. In short we were to exercise dominion over the earth. Both the man and the woman were designed to fulfill this task but were designed to fulfill the task differently. By design, the man was oriented to various tasks and the woman was oriented to helping her man fulfill those tasks.
This is the understanding that Paul reflects in his admonition that the older women teach the younger women to be “homemakers.” Literally the word is home-energizers, women who are busy working at home doing all that they can do to bless their household and assist their husbands to fulfill the divine commission that has been given to both of them.
This design difference between men and women leads Paul to deliver specific admonitions to the married women and the women with children in the congregation. Notice Paul’s commands: first, to married women. If you are married, then Paul’s admonition to you is that you love your husband – be devoted to him, committed to his well-being, and manifesting the same type of love for your husband that the church is called upon to manifest for Christ. You are to be your husband’s suitable helper and – though feminists rage and foam – be obedient to your own husbands. By fulfilling these mandates you will be blessed and, what’s more important, the Word of God will be adorned with glory rather than blasphemed.
Second, Paul gives commands to women with children. If you have children at home, then Paul’s admonition to you is that you love your children – care for them instruct them, cherish them, serve them. Your calling is not to care for them alongside various other tasks that you view as more important. Your calling is to care for them preeminently.
Notice, therefore, that Paul insists that your husband and your children are to get your best thoughts, your most intense care, your most ardent devotion – for this is how God has designed you.
And husbands, your responsibility is to make sure that your wives can fulfill these tasks. Guard them, protect them, provide for them so that they in turn can love and cherish laboring at home.
Reminded that God has designed men and women differently and that our calling as human beings is to go with the grain, let us kneel and confess that we often rebel again his design.