Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You are a home economist!


Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around, encouraging young things to grow. From Hello Dolly

Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 are two famous passages about women and work, particularly in their roles in the home. There's another verse that needs to be considered, as well. In I Timothy 5:14-15 Paul tells Timothy, a young minister, how to cope with a problem a church was having with widows who were becoming busybodies and idle talkers. (Let you think Paul was down on women, he addressed problems with men as well, in this letter.) Paul counsels younger women to "get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. By younger, he meant under the age of sixty!

The word keep house is oikodespoteo. It comes from the word oikonomos, from which we get our English word economy. This form is similar that used in Titus 2 to mean keeper at home or busy at home. The first unit of economy in history was the home, farm, or family business. Oikonomos means a steward of the home, the manager of the home, and the person to whom the owner of the home has entrusted the management of his financial affairs. It can refer to an overseer of a farm or landed estate. It can also refer to the person who is in charge of a city's financial affairs or the one who manages the financial affairs of a ruler. Throughout most of history, the concept of economy referred to the home unit or small business or farm. It was only in the last two centuries that we have come to think first of economy as a system of economy for a nation first and only secondly in terms of home economy.

So, if you have a home, you are a home economist! You may have another job, but, even so, you are also an economic manager of your household. You may work in tandem with your husband and under his direction. You may enlist your children to help with household economy. But, at least one of the hats you wear is that of home economist.

The form used in I Timothy 5:14-15, oikodespoteo, literally means to rule or guide the house.
How important that is! Now, it's true that the widows of Paul's day may not have had as many other career options available to them as women of today do, and, therefore, ruling or guiding a home provided them with meaningful work. Likewise, men of that day had fewer career options as well because 1) there weren't as many kinds of work as there are now and 2) most people -- male and female -- were expected to stay within the social sphere and job of their parents. Even so, the need for someone to guide and rule the home is just as great today, as it was then.

Today, we still have children who need love, discipline, and teaching. We still have household budgets to oversee, bills to pay, taxes to prepare, and resources to allot for our family's needs. We still have a need for clothing, food, and shelter. We still have the emotional needs for family and home. We still have the need for home as a place where we show hospitality to others, reach out to the needy, and share in faith and godly love with our family members and neighbors. The church is also our shelter in these arenas, but godly homes and godly home managers are necessary, as well. Whatever we do, we can't neglect this role in the home.

As Martha Peace says, "Chaos and disorder create tension and contention. It drains her (a wife) of the needed eneergy to work on her relationship with her husband and children. A wife should make it her busienss to find out how to keep an orderly and clean home and stay organized with her grocery shopping and meals. There are many good books on the market or in the library that are very helpful, and if this area in her life is out of control, she should seek the resources to change."

Practical: What one thing can you do today to be a good financial manager of your household? If you are a young girl at home, how are you doing at managing your allowance or any funds you earn by babysitting or doing chores?

Happy Home Keeping!

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