Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Value of Real Work

Her Office from http://www.allposters.com/

Homemaking is a multi-faceted job, much more so than any other job a woman could have. If you work in an office, you will probably not be required to clean the floor or the windows. Another crew, from another company, will be hired to do that. You will probably not go to the cafeteria or restaurant and cook your own food. You will not be required to sweep the walkway to the place of work. You won't be mowing the lawn. You will not be repairing anything inside the office or on the outside of the structure where you work. You won't be greeting everyone or doing all the correspondence if you are in a firm where the work is specifically assigned amongst other employees.

If anyone thinks that being home full time is taking the easy way out of trying to have a soft life, just invite the over and let them help you with your day, which will not end at 5 pm with other institutions.

The so-called "work ethic" existed long before it was labelled "the work ethic." From the beginning of time, work existed. God invented it, for he worked when he created the world and mankind. Man himself was created to work. Adam was given the first job in the Garden of Eden, to dress it and care for it. Eve was given the job of being a helper fit for him. Later, Adam was told to work "by the sweat of his brow," in order provide for his family. Obviously, work requires some exertion. No religious group invented the "work ethic, for it was taught in the New Testament in instructions to members of Christ's body, the church. Church members were warned particularly to be busy, to provide for their families, and not to "pilfer, purloinThe words about working with your hands and not being a burden on others were written long before any denomination existed. It should be called "The Bible Work Ethic."

Some women who just want to get out of working, will claim to believe in the scriptures that command women to be keepers at home. Yes, it is important to stay home, but you cannot just stay home and not work.  The house must be "kept," which means made clean, orderly and comfortable. This entails regular de-cluttering, sweeping, washing and arranging. There is enough to do at home to justify being there. If you do not think there is enough to do, it is time to invent things to do: new sewing projects, cooking meals, setting the table, laundry, ironing, yardwork, studying various aspects of homekeeping, and more.

The subject of begging has been introduced by various comments from time to time.This is not the subject of eliciting free-will offerings for the Lord's work, but whether or not able-bodied people who should work, are justified in begging. If the commands in the Bible to work were taken to heart, it would eliminate the need to beg. David said in the famous Psalm:

Psa 37:25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.

Another good thing about the work of home is that it can be done as quickly as desired. A woman can put in a load of laundry and then go to another room to work on something that she wants to accomplish, whether it be a sewing project or a letter. She can get all the main work done (dishes, laundry, straightening up the house, meal preparations) completed and make some time to do something that is creative or some extra project that she enjoys a lot. Time is within her own control. Sometimes in the workplace in industry, for example, or an office. or a shop, a woman must spend a lot of time waiting. This is not necessary at home. While waiting for something to bake, she can be setting the table. While waiting for the post to come, she can tidy up the front room. While waiting for lunch or dinner time, she can do any other item of housekeeping she likes. While waiting for visitors, she can clean up the dishes she used to prepare food in. Her time at home is usually packed and there is not a lot of waiting around for others to do their jobs. She is, for the most part, in charge of everything.

One Bible verse to consider is:

1Th 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands...

The way to get the house clean and function is through the work of our own hands, and through designating tasks to others in the house. Children can help a lot. They can transfer folded laundry to the right places. They can gather dishes from the tables to the sink. They can pick up things on the floor. I have had posts here that explained the importance of having a bare carpet and floor. Many home accidents can be avoided if there is a bare-floor rule. Certainly, no other business could be successful if there were toys and clothing in passage ways and hall ways and heavy traffic areas.

Men also, can do a lot at home to help make life easier for the homemaker. Being good workers themselves, they will not, even when laid off their jobs, want to sit around and watch sports and drink beer, leaving cans all over the place for the homemaker to dispose of. They will not create work for others. They will realize that time spent in begging could just as well be spent in working. They can also make life more comfortable at home by providing things that make her work easier and more exciting. Conveniences such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, good stoves, and furnishings that give the family a lift, are all important aspects of helping women love being at home.

In hard times of previous generations, men who could not find work, found things to do at home. They did necessary repairs on the house, improved the grounds, tended the garden. built things, even whittled toys for children. They were not idle just because they did not have a paying job. The Bible talks about working with your own hands: If a man wants to be hired he can develop a reputation of being a hard worker, whether he is employed or not.

Keenly aware of this scripture, men and women knew that they would soon come to hunger in their homes if they did not work.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing (Ist Thessalonias 3:10-13)
2Th 3:12 -

Commenting on one of these verses, one writer of the 1700's recorded this interesting fact about the way society deteriorated when people did not work:

With quietness they work - Μετα ἡσυχιας· With silence; leaving their tale-bearing and officious intermeddling. Less noise and more work!

That - they work, and eat their own bread - Their own bread, because earned by their own honest industry. What a degrading thing to live on the bounty or mercy of another, while a man is able to acquire his own livelihood!

He who can submit to this has lost the spirit of independence; and has in him a beggar’s heart, and is capable of nothing but base and beggarly actions. Witness the great mass of the people of England, who by their dependence on the poor rates are, from being laborious, independent, and respect able, become idle, profligate, and knavish; the propagators and perpetrators of crime; a discredit to the nation, and a curse to society. The apostle’s command is a cure for such; and the Church of God should discountenance such, and disown them.

Work is not always paid work. Work is still work when it is done honestly, with all your might, in the home. Families come to hunger when fridges are not cleaned and food is left to rot. Families will not prosper when the home is not looked after from within. Things that are not washed, cleaned, sorted, looked after, will deteriorate, costing more money to replace.

Of course, there are different kinds of "work" mentioned in the Bible, and there is a difference between working (labor) and good works which show love and hospitality to others, and the work of spreading the gospel. I believe that even when women are resting in their own homes, they are still in charge of a great work. Please do not assume that I think they should slave from morning til evening. At home, they can draw their own lines. They can determine their own limits. They are motivated by love for their families. They want their marriages and their children to have a good reputation. They want their husbands to be successful. No one has to stand over them and tell them what to do. They can tell by which need is the most urgent.

In closing, I will leave you with this:

Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;

If there is work, there will be no need for begging. The description of the Proverbs 31 woman includes the words: Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

"Spoil" was the substance the men got after conquering a city, when they went in and took the best of everything. Spoil is also defined as "pilfering," which is similar to stealing. If a woman at home will study the Proverbs 31 woman (Proverbs 31 verses 10 - 31) she will find the principles to live by in the work of the home, and there will be no need for begging. The value of real work is that it keeps people out of trouble, helps them mind their own business, and gets things done. Neglect of personal property and laziness in relation to poverty is described here:

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. Proverbs 6:10-11.

There are several reasons for poverty. One antecdote within our own power at home is work. At least, we can keep poverty on the other side of our doors, if we carefully monitor waste and work. Work enables us to do things that others have to hire people to do. Work can save us money.

Family Picnic, by Consuelo Gamboa, from allposters.com

For homemakers, here is a video library that might have something that would help in your home keeping: .asp?category=Human%20Environment%20Design%20and%20Textiles

An old poem:

Now I get me up to work,
I pray the Lord I will not shirk,
If I should die before the night,
I pray the Lord, my work's alright.

Pro 19:15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
Pro 14:23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.(poverty)


Mrs. K's Lemonade Stand said...

Have you ever noticed that when you walk into someone's home, there is a certain "feeling" to it? Each homemaker leaves a certain "essence" or signature feeling to her home. How gorious it is that we are each so unique. :)

Lydia said...

Yes, it is so true!! That is part of the joy of having keepers of their own homes at home, creating that atmosphere!

Just Me said...

As always, an excellent post, Lady Lydia. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is a very thoughtful post, and I thank you for it! I have a facet to add from my own family. In my home, my husband and I work out my homemaking schedule each week so that he knows which days I will be doing laundry, or grocery shopping, etc. We write them together in my calendar and he takes a look when he gets home from work to see how I did on the day's list. So in most ways, I feel that I am working for him since he's clearly set forth his expectations. It's true I don't have the independence you write of, but I have the freedom of knowing for sure I've done the day's work that matters most to him, and it works well for us! Blessings to you--Amy.

Aubrey said...

I just wanted to drop in and let you know how very much I enjoy your "home on the web!" Recently, I stared a blog of my own. Your blog is on my favorites list. I hope you don't mind, asking slipped my mind this last week.
Hope you are having a wonderful week,

Lydia said...

I appreciate the super comments lately and would like to highlight some that captured my interest:

The one lady who said that people didn't commonly complain because they didn't think they were poor: it is true, because they thought that they didn't have any complaints if they had a roof over their head and some food. Others thought they didn't have anything coming to them in the first place, so they didn't complain about losses. I wonder if many people remember that attitude from the ?

Another lady wrote that it is just pathetic the way we are not allowed our privacy any more, and oft are objects of suspicion because we do not reveal every fear, every emotion, every personal financial problem, every loss or every gain. Modernists somehow translated that into hypocrisy or dishonesty. To enlighten the younger ones, we never used to reveal what our income was. No one even knew how much their father made. It was not discussed in social circles. Money matters were quite private, almost as private as modesty itself! You wouldn't tell anyone how much you weighed or how many days you had been sober. You wouldn't tell anyone how much debt you had or what kinds of pills your were taking or how much your house cost. There was just a lot more privacy and people talked of many other interesting things.

And to those who mentioned helping others in hard times: those people should know that everyone is a little tight at the end of a paycheck and that it doesn't hurt at all to eat less or stay home and not be out using up gasoline or spending. Lots of people did it before this present era, and they did survive.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider making more posts, but making them shorter? It seems like your posts are getting longer and longer. Personally, I'd rather read more short posts than less but longer ones.
Just my opinion.

Lynn said...

Another lovely post - thank you. By the way, I read "When Queens Ride by" yesterday - it took me an age to read & I felt guilty reading it whilst the cleaning waited but I am so glad I took that time - I was so so productive afterwards! I don't think I shall ever forget that story.
Many thanks.

zetor said...

Excellent post, one that I will refer to often. Thankyou for a great blog.

Dawn said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

This was an awesome post!! Thank you for it!

I have been a keeper at home for over 5 years now (no children) and it's amazing the work that needs to be done every day and it's just me and my husband. Yes I may have more days when there isn't much to do since it's just the two of us, but I find there is always something do to, thanks to my hubby...lol.

When you tell the world you are a homemaker or 'housewife' they get that look on their face and say 'oh', like it's not really a job. That we just sit on our tush all day watching soap operas...ugh...

Slowly it seems the world is finally seeing that homemaking is a 24/7 job just like motherhood is and it's now starting to get more respect. :-)

The Lord bless and keep you!


JKaye said...

Thanks for this post. I like that little prayer at the end, and think I will memorize it.

Something my husband and I like about me being at home is, I can do a lot of chores during the day that we used to have to do in the evenings and on weekends -- laundry, grass cutting, and general housecleaning, for instance. Sure, there are still tasks to do in the evening, such as preparing a meal. But, cooking then becomes more relaxing, and something we usually do together, rather than one of us cooking while the other is throwing laundry in the washing machine.

When work is done in this sort of timely way, then the time spent with family can be more focused and meaningful.

S. Belle said...

I loved this post. You always have such meaningful and inspirational posts.

I'm inspired to work even harder in my home, and work harder at generating money from home, so that there is no need for help from others when one income cannot cover everything.

Being a stay at home mother is harder than I thought. There is so much work to be done in order to have an orderly home. But, what a feeling of accomplishment, when things are done! :)

Lydia said...

Regarding shorter posts: I've had that goal in mind for a long time! I have been wanting to make the blog just short little snippets from my home dealing with homemaking, and not so many "issues." I wanted to send the larger articles to LAF to the lady Lydia Speaks section. These articles on frugality are an exception, as I am trying to keep from making a lot of them. One long article was better for me in this case. I prefer short things myself!

Catherine R. said...

This reminds me of an episode of "I Love Lucy" (a tv show from the 1950's) where Lucy's husband said he could easily do her job as a homemaker and she wanted him to prove it so they switched roles for a day and his day at home trying to cook and clean was a total disaster being that he didn't realize how hard it was.

Lynn said...

I don't mind the short or the long posts - I just like to visit here!
Longer posts I just read in instalments!!
Thank you for the time you invest here.

Jennifer C. Valerie said...

Whenever I need a little lift, a word of encouragement regarding my duties at home, I find it here. Thanks for what you do.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the longer posts at all, however, I like to print them out and can't seem to get rid of the art inserted in the body of the post. If I print out the post, I can read it as leisure.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I often come here for inspiration, and today I simply must share the loveliest words I heard from my husband two days ago:

"I hope you never, ever have to work outside the home. I love the way you care for our home. I love the way you wait for me with a smile when I come back from work. Sure, you have been doing things all day, but you feel a sense of satisfaction because you do it all for us. You aren't exhausted from running around and trying to have it all together. You aren't a slave to another man's schedule. In the evenings, we have plenty of time to sit together and talk, without arguing about whose day was more difficult. I just love it."

My husband hit the nail on the head. I've been working all day, but I'm not exhausted because I'm not a slave to the schedule of a boss or impatient clients! And thus I have more than enough time to listen to him and give him all my attention when he comes home.

Anonymous said...

So enjoyed this post, Mrs. Sherman. Long or short, I never mind! I just always find so much good information & wisdom in your words.


Primrose Hill said...

from a LONG time lurker....

time after time you never fail to inspire me!

God bless you and your ministry to all of us.

Anonymous said...

To the commentor about printing to read when time permits. Here's what I do: highlight the post, and copy. Next I open up Wordpad and click on Edit, then click on "paste special". Then only thing left is the little tags which tell the name of the artwork, the artist and where it can be found, I delete that information. I also make sure to include the source at the end of the printed post so I can remember where I found it. I hope this helps.

By the way, these posts have been very helpful to me, long or short, they are great. I try not to spend a lot of time with my back on my family so mostly I copy, paste and print. When my family is doing their little things I read. Now this may seem like a waste of a lot of paper/ink but most of the articles I print here I have in my Home-Keeper's Journal for future generations.

Blessings, Paula

Sue said...

Thank you for this post. I agree with the above commenter, long or short does not really matter, as long as you are moved to create this valuable information that is so needed, please just keep them coming.
Your gift for imparting specific instruction in such a gentle manner is very inspiring. The fruit of the Spirit shines forth from every post.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Sherman,

Maybe (since you've brought up some things that are taboo to discuss) you could write about some of the proper rules of conversation in a later post?

In an article on LAF you recommended Ethel Cotton's course in Conversation and I've enjoyed it very much. Maybe some of the other ladies would enjoy a few comments about it and snippets from it?

Thank you for your wonderful blog,

Lizzy F.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind any of your posts either Mrs. Sherman, long or short (actually I prefer the longer ones!). They always offer something that makes me think about my work in a more uplifting way.

This was my favorite quote of this article, "Work is not always paid work. Work is still work when it is done honestly, with all your might, in the home."

I think of my grandmother a lot as I journey through these days as a mother at home with young children. My grandmother and grandfather had a family farm and 11 children. My mom tells me, that growing up, my grandmother worked from morning until night and was the kindest, most loving mother ever without a drop of worry. My mom believes that all of the work around the farm and home that she did relieved any anxiety, much like how we try to exercise today to get that same feeling.


Lydia said...

I am for shorter posts, as it is easier on me. I'll save the longer ones for books ;-) My reason for starting a blog in the first place was to enter daily snippets of life at home. I got distracted because of requests for posts on issues like women at home vs. working and living on one income. However, that kind of thing could be divided into smaller posts.

Lydia said...

Regarding wealth, work, and poverty: they are inter-related.

The Bible warns about those who desire to get rich, because they fall into many temptations. We have seen this with public figures. The availability of wealth makes vice more affordable. The wealth can also be a temptation to put their trust in material things.

However, several of the main heroes of the Bible were rich. Abraham, for example, was rich in flocks and in silver and gold. Joseph prospered in Egypt. Solomon was given great riches by God. Others had land and money. The man who took care of the body of Jesus was wealthy. In the New Testament, those with money are given the responsiblity to be benevolent and hospitable. They are not to be "high-minded." Wealth is a great tool when used for good things!

In your youth, you can get very idealistic about this subject, thinking that poverty is more righteous. However, the Bible shows the correlation of poverty and laziness. And, if you have been in poverty, you know it doesn't make you feel very noble, and you want to rise above it when you can. If you have ever been in poverty you remember it well enough not to repeat your mistakes. It isn't fun to be cold, without proper clothing and food, so you start learning how to guard your security and keep the money from flowing out on useless things.

The book of Proverbs says that poverty is better if there is less strife. Riches often bring about more problems. Then, Proverbs says that not paying attention to your finances (a little sleep, a little folding of the hands) or not working, can bring about poverty. The kind of poverty that brings peace is a little different than the poverty that comes about from careless living. Remember the Prodigal son spent his inheritance on wasteful living. His father was rich, but there is a reason he was rich: he wasn't throwing it all away with gambling and feasting and partying. The Prodigal son, we assume, treated his friends to food and drink, but when it all ran out, his friends didn't help him, so he had to return to his father.

It is not wrong to be rich, provided it is used for virtue and not vice. It is not wrong to be poor unless it is preventing you from doing all you should be doing: helping others, providing for your family, paying your bills, etc. It is definitely not right to refuse to work and earn money just because you think "poor is better." David asked God in a Psalm to give him "neither poverty nor riches.." because he didn't want to be forced to steal, and in being rich, he didn't want to lose his dependence on God.

Unknown said...

I just found your blog through another. My life is very different from yours, but I admire you so very much. I hold a dream and fervent prayer in my heart that some day I could be a godly woman who is home with my children, taking care of my family and household. I am fairly new to the Christian journey and God has been so good and blessed me in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your blog.