Last Updated on : Saturday, October 11, 2014
Keepers at Home
A serene home is one that is united in elevating Yahweh, and in which, among the members of the household there prevails a mutual warmth begotten of love and an understanding of one another's needs. In such a home there will exist a sense of well-being and an appreciation of spiritual and material blessings received, as well as a quiet corner for study. But no man can make his wife provide all of this: it is a mutual undertaking. She must co-operate with him by anticipating the needs several steps in advance. In Solomon's picture, the balance of the home rested in the hands of the "virtuous woman."
At Home As A Wife
A Sister-wife should acquire the power of self-sustenance in the truth. Not in order that she may shake herself free from her husband's influence and set up on her own behalf, but in order that she may fully come to realize in the privations incident to her position, that help, encouragement and happiness, which the conjugal relation was designed to yield, but which it may fail at all times to give.
To attain the necessary degree of self-sustenance, we must remember that the highest object of life is to please Him who has called us to be saints: perfecting holiness in ourselves through the fear and love and obedience of Him. The sister married in the Lord, has her part to perform, and frequently an arduous and onerous one. She requires to be strengthened inwardly to sustain her in the discharge of it.
If she depends too much upon her husband, she runs the risk of disappointment; and whatever disappoints, is a hindrance and source of weakness, and must be avoided, if at all possible. She loves her husband, and desires his company. He loves his wife, and desires her welfare in all things. It would be his choice to spend his leisure time with her; but, the claims of duty he cannot disregard: and these frequently call him from her side. The necessity of growing in the truth also requires him to withdraw himself sometimes for study. Now, let not the sister who has to forego ordinary home pleasure for the truth's sake, imagine that she is in a special degree aggrieved. The experience of the sisterhood generally in this respect, will be in many instances similar to her own. The problem to be solved is, how so to deport herself in the evil inevitably attendant upon this state of trial, as to secure the blessing of the age to come.
She may in many ways be called upon to forego much that she might legitimately claim as her right and privilege. Her husband's faithfulness to the truth, may decide him on courses that will deprive himself in many respects, and in this he expects, and is entitled to realise, that his wife as a daughter of the same Father will be able to join him. It will be well for her, and for her husband, if this is the case. It may bring deprivations and bitterness in some directions, but let her remember for whose sake she is called upon thus to suffer, not forgetting his promise and abundant reward in the future, if the cross is willingly borne now.
Even if she thinks her husband extreme in his actions, and finds sometimes that his readiness to serve, and liberality in the truth, deprives her of the opportunities she might wish of showing spontaneity in the same direction, let her be comforted with the thought that in his labours and service and sacrifice for the truth, she is a sharer and co-labourer if she readily and unmurmuringly bear the share of disadvantage such service may bring to her, and that in the end she will share the reward of faithful stewardship which her husband seeks to earn by his devotion now.
It is very necessary that a sister-wife should cultivate the powers of self-sustenance in the truth. When she has attained this, she will find herself in the possession of a powerful protection against the disappointments incident to a husband's absence from home, or his occupation when at home to her apparent neglect. It will enable her to bear up with cheerful countenance and hopeful heart, when her immediate surroundings are not such as might inspire that frame of mind. It will be a great help to herself and an aid to her husband and often supply the first links in the chain that will lead to profitable and happy re-union at the end of a day's toil on both sides. -Jane Roberts
Love Your Husbands
How can a woman fulfil the Scriptural exhortation to love her husband? True love will always find a very practical way of expressing itself. It always cares for the object of its affections, and a wife, if she loves her husband, will care for him. She will care for his everyday wants and she will care for his spiritual requirements. By her judicious management of the home or the reverse she can fortify him to work for her and for his God, or she can make his lot well-nigh unbearable. A selfish wife is a curse. Let us not be selfish. Let us sometimes place ourselves, in imagination, in our husband's place. We know what we would like. We would like to come home to a clean bright hearth and a clean bright face and to be greeted with fair bright words. Small things cannot be performed without pains and attention, and the wife who succeeds in them can rejoice in a happy well-managed household, whereas the wife who neglects them will have an unhappy muddled household. Therefore if we are tempted to meet our husbands with a cross face or a scolding tongue or an untidy appearance, let us ask ourselves should I like this if I were in his place?
If we are judicious and kind we shall find him ready to sympathise and help us bear our woes. If we are not judicious we may estrange him from us. For, after all, he is only human. There is one rock ahead which a young wife should avoid. Let her never make a third person a confidant instead of her husband. Should this advice be neglected any breach that may occur will grow wider and wider instead of closing. It is not wise to speak of a husband's shortcomings to others. That also will tend to widen any breach should it occur.
To turn to the more spiritual side of the subject. Love will cause a wife to care for her husband's spiritual needs. Love would never say, "I enjoy your companionship so much that I cannot spare you from my side to attend the meetings." Where both husband and wife cannot attend the meetings, true love would rather say, let us take turns, for if both stay home how shall we grow in the truth and be strengthened to resist the flesh! Love will prevent a wife absorbing her husband's time so that he cannot study the word and serve the truth in other ways. Love will make her frugal and self-denying that her husband's hands may be stretched forth to the needy and other services of the truth. -C.H.J.
Some sister may say, "My husband is out of the truth and our home is wretched beyond my power to alter it." Well, dear sister, first make quite sure that it is beyond your power to alter matters. Be quite sure you are showing a true practical love for your husband. Remember that the truth does not consist solely in reading the Bible and preaching. There are daily duties to be performed and these, when faithfully carried out, appeal quite as strongly as an exhortation. Peter enjoins those who have unbelieving husbands to strive to win them by their upright godly behaviour. A living exhortation carries more weight than an oral one. If your faithful walk has no influence upon your husband be patient and leave your case in the hands of God. But do not depart from an attitude of love, submission and obedience. God will not forget that you have performed your duty to an unbelieving husband for His sake and He will count the service as rendered unto Him. -C.H. Jannaway
Recognising Your Part
There are things you can do and things you cannot do. God expects you to do the one and He will do the other. "Fellow-workers with God" is the beautiful rule of his administration. You cannot make flax and corn; but you can get ready the spindle and mill. Recognise your part and do it. -Robert Roberts
To her husband in the Truth, a sister has special obligations. She is a loving wife, and a loyal companion of his studies. With him she shares the same aspirations, the same tastes, the same ardour for the Truth of God. She strives to ease his difficulties, and make the home his sanctuary from the stress and battle of life. She sympathises as the closest of friends cannot sympathise. She understands as no other friend can understand. She appreciates as it is not in the power of any but Christ to appreciate. She is a help and a support and a stay in life's troubles as no other being on earth could be, however cordial their friendship and intimate their acquaintance." Of such a wife it can truly be said, "The heart of her husband will safely trust in her" (Prov. 31:11).
In The Home
Is it realistic for brethren or sisters to insist that a woman's place is in the home? Many sisters must have very mixed feelings when they read such passages as Titus 2:4,5 and 1 Cor. 14:35. "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
"And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for a woman to speak in the ecclesia."
Perhaps we think that if Paul were alive today he should modify these statements to suit our time. We sisters might reason that in these days, when women are frequently as well or even better educated than the brethren, and when women can hold down just as good a job or profession as a man, the situation has completely changed.
Serious thought is needed on this subject, because a vital principle is involved. The Creator knows the need of his creatures in every detail, both spiritually and physically. He created man to be the dominant sex for a very good reason. A marriage is never really successful and rewarding unless the husband is the head of the woman. This may mean that a woman who has a strong personality will have to make a conscious effort to subdue her natural tendencies to "be the boss" and encourage her husband to take the lead, otherwise slowly but surely the marriage will become merely a legal tie, without the tender love and companionship of a true marriage in Christ. How often one can detect the underlying disharmony in a marriage that is dominated by the wife, even if on the surface all seems well! As followers of Christ, how much more vital it is for us to try to ensure that our marriages are as near as possible to the ideal of Christ and his bride! Marriage for us is for life, no until "divorce us do part."
Paul's words about women seem to produce extreme reactions. Either they are impatiently thrown off, with the statement that Paul is out of date; or, on the other hand, some women take them as a cue to become a dull and uninteresting cabbage, dutifully waiting at home for her husband, having little to contribute in the way of spiritual help to the family. Paul is not advocating that we should leave all the thinking and studying of the Bible to our husbands. Sisters have a duty to be lively and stimulating companions, eager to talk about spiritual things, and because of our own study able to contribute to the general family knowledge of God's word.
What a tremendous help a loving and understanding wife can be to her husband when he needs quiet to write an address, or criticism after he has given one. Only she will be able to give a really frank opinion, only she will dare to point out the little irritating mannerisms he may have when speaking, and often she will be the only one who gives the much needed words of encouragement when her husband feels that he has failed.
Often sisters express the view that the brethren do all the important work in the ecclesia, and that they feel unfulfilled and frustrated: "What is there for them to do for God? During the first few formative years of a child's life, he is almost entirely in the company of his mother. These are the years when he is either becoming a spiritually minded Godly person or a self-centred child of the flesh, to whom the Word of God and its spiritual message will have no meaning.
One fact on which modern psychology is agreed is that the very early years of life are of vital importance in the forming of character, and they can have a profound effect upon a person's mental health. With this in mind, a mother will realize what a great privilege and responsibility God has given her in having the care of children.
Many would agree that one of the greatest problems of our time is the fact that more and more children are being farmed out to strangers, while their mothers go out to work. It is very sad to see this happening even in our own community. Except in very unusual circumstances, surely there can be no excuse for a sister of Christ so blatantly to neglect her duty as to let someone else take on her responsibility. If it means going without a few luxuries in the home, how does that compare with the possible eternal life of the children?
Even to leave young children with one's own mother (whether she is a sister or not) for the purpose of going out to work, is unwise. Why deprive oneself of the joy of watching a baby grow and develop through all the fascinating stages of his early life just for the sake of more money? The years go by so quickly, and they cannot be relived. Never let us sisters take for granted the joy of motherhood, of which some are deprived. They, like Sarah, Hannah, Rachel and Elisabeth, would give their all to hold their own baby in their arms, and have the chance of bringing him up in the fear and love of the Lord. Let us try to model ourselves on Mary, who was chosen by God out of all Jewry to have the care of His beloved Son. -J.H.
A Mother's Guidance
She bent the twig
She bent the twig
She bent the twig
And when the tempest raged
The Scriptures exhort us not to grow discontented with our daily routine but to exalt our most common-place duties to the position of God-given tasks, and to show fidelity and diligence in their performance, which is to be "from the heart." The everyday things of life give more scope for developing character and bringing up the quality of obedience to Christ's commands than we are sometimes disposed to think. When we ponder the training of the worthiest of God's children we perceive that few, if any, were relieved of the common daily routine.
"I have learned," said Paul "in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content." And his further comment for our instruction is: "Godliness with contentment is great gain." To learn and remember this will counteract our natural tendency to grumble and go about with sour looks at what we may be inclined to regard as weary drudgery and a hard lot, quite out of harmony with the position of a saint.
Let us remember that our divinely imposed obligations in our respective relationships, cannot be cancelled by distributing thousands of pamphlets, by holding hundreds of arguments with the stranger, or by reading whole books of the Bible at a sitting. -C.H. Jannaway
True happiness consists not in the possession of material wealth, but in acquiring a fulness of spiritual grace, which yields comfort to us, and a beneficial influence to all with whom we come in contact.
Benefits of Exercise
A state of robust health is impossible if a sister is within doors the whole time. Consider that the life is in the blood, and that the blood depends upon the air for its purity and vigour. If sisters were aware of the advantage which results from a walk in the open air (and they ought with their enlightenment, to be aware of it), they surely would make greater efforts in this direction. Let them try the experiment of a run out every day. Even a quarter of an hour every day will do them more good than a whole month once a year by the seaside, if all the rest of the time is spent in the house.
Domestic purchases will always give abundant occasion for daily walks; and if these are out of her way, let her make a visit where she may be of service -- say to an invalid (just for a few minutes) -- her walk will do her a double benefit. She will bring back with her the pleasant reflection that someone besides herself has benefited by her outing; and the healthful stimulus of both will be felt afterwards.
Where no such errand presents itself, and she has nothing specially calling her out, don't let her yield to the temptation of staying in the house. Let her take her walk by any means; it will give her the opportunity of inhaling the invigorating air outside, and if she be within reach of green fields and shady lanes, let her enjoy the sweet season of contact with the soothing quietude so conducive to meditation. She will return greatly renewed in her purpose, and increased in her ability to pursue the steady way of life, in preference to the empty pursuits of the world around her. She will, in this matter of going out, have to be very determined; for she will frequently have to encounter obstacles, in disinclination, and in the many claims of household matters requiring her attention; and if she give in. she will soon find herself in the weary valley again.
Let her determine, as in the case of reading, at all hazards, to secure this great boon. How much better is she able to meet the demands of her family cares after she has had a run out for a short time, when after a day's stewing in the house over some troublesome piece of work, upon which she has exhausted nearly all her patience. And how much better able she is to greet her husband cheerfully at the close of her day's work, if she has thus healthfully varied her occupation during the day.
Let her try to experiment, and she will find growing upon her the power to minister to and to bless others. Even if her husband be faulty, and remiss in his profession of the truth and practice thereof, she will by this power of self-sustenance, be able to maintain her own position in the truth; and by her exemplary behaviour, may assist her husband into a more excellent way. It will also be of very great service to her in the training of her children. If she first be able to rule herself, she will be the more able wisely to rule those under her. -Sister J. Roberts
A Fine House And Wasted Time
Let us choose to deny ourselves the questionable pleasure of surrounding ourselves with household ornaments, which consume such an amount of precious time in the taking care of them. We can spend the time to better purpose. We need not seek to please our neighbours in the keeping of our houses. Our standard differs from theirs. A sister's calling requires her to regard her house as a convenience in this wilderness state, and not as a thing she is to live for. It is not with her a principal object of attention. She will be careful to keep a clean house and a comfortable house, but a stylish house she has neither time nor taste for. What God requires of her will demand the time, and the skill, and the means, which a fine house would consume of her hands. The will of Christ has the first place in her affection. She looks at some women who profess to be Christ's, and yet have no time for anything beyond the demands of the house; things of God find no place with them. Bright furniture and spotless carpets seem more to them than Christ fellowshipped in deeds of kindness to comfortless hearts, and the gospel preached to the perishing. The true daughters of Sarah reverse all this, and dispense with much that is considered indispensable in worldly households, because they find that to give such things the attention considered genteel, they must neglect the claims of higher things. Their principle is pre-eminence to the things that belong to God. This indeed, is the only safe rule to follow. It may separate us oftentimes from the "respectable" people so called, but it will place us in the company of apostles and prophets, who were at a discount in their day, because they esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. And we have the joy of knowing that if it gives us their company in the present bitterness, it will ensure for us their glorious society in the day of the manifestation of the sons of God. If we have now the answer of a good conscience, we may indulge in the glorious hope of sharing the honour which awaits all who have in like manner laboured and not fainted. Where then will be the plans and patience bestowed upon the frivolities of fashionable life? -Sister J. Roberts
Out Of This Life
Out of this life I shall never take
Though I call it mine, and boast its worth,
I wonder often just what I shall own,
Shall the Great Judge learn when I am thru
In The Household
That the sister-wife should be able to sustain her part is highly necessary. Her position in the household is an all-important and influential one. Her influence for good or evil is great. If she will but rise to the dignity of her calling in the truth, and to the honour, responsibility and power attaching to it; as the help-meet of one of like precious faith, to whom she may prove a true helper unto the kingdom of God, and as being herself a candidate for eternal life; her labour will be ennobled in her own estimation, and she will be greatly encouraged in the works of overcoming the evil in herself and around her. Should she be tempted to think her position too obscure, and her sphere of action too limited to be of any account; let her remember, that it is only in proportion to the means at our disposal that we shall have to render account. It was the servant with only one talent who failed through not using it. Let us take warning, and make the best of even small opportunities, lest by any means we should fail of the grace of God.