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Making a Living for the Biblical Family

Christian self-worth and personal identity are not based on work done, career followed, salary earned, items owned or diplomas achieved.  “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom” or “the rich man boast of his riches.”  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  Significance and sense of personal worth are found in one’s relationship with God; in service for His non-temporal Kingdom.  Opposing the Christian worldview is the cultural mindset, which holds out the promise that work will give wealth, prestige, esteem, purpose, values, standards, success and happiness.  The notion further claims that the harder one works, the more one receives, the further one gets.  In this era of so-called “second wave” feminism, the materialistic ethic has combined with growth in individualism - the self-centered ethos in which mothers (and absentee fathers) “detach” themselves from traditional parenting responsibilities.  The level of acceptance of materialism and individualism in society has led to the dominant trend of two spouses working outside the home, in theory to make a living for the “family.”  However, in practice the closer women draw in social and economic status to men the more disruptive is pregnancy and childbirth; the higher the career success the greater the pressure to abandon motherhood.  [The result in Canada, on average the birth rate is 1.5 births per female, the lowest since 1921 (three years after the Great War), less than the replacement rate of 2.1.  The number of women giving birth aged 35 or older accounts for 17.2 percent; four times what it was a generation earlier.  And annually in Canada and the United States there are 1.5 million “terminations” of poorly timed, inconvenient, or totally unwanted pregnancies.]  In the “work-oriented” dual income family, the feminist vision of motherhood is seen as innately visionary, critical to achieving gender equality, and beneficial to the state.  This reimaged notion of motherhood claims that mothers labouring in the workforce do not destroy the joyous sense of connection to sons and daughters or diminish the all-important influence of the home environment on their children’s lives.  However, for most families the shift of both parents into the workplace has caused a time-deficit for homemaking, parenting, and indeed, spousal relationship building.  Work-oriented parents must endure the children’s resentment of their priority to employment and embrace a new psychological ideal of parenting, one that abandons pursuit of perfection in child rearing.  The bottom line issue from a Christian perspective is not so much who works outside the home or even that both parents may choose to do so at certain stages in family life, but why so many spouses are choosing careerism, workaholism, materialism or some preferential allegiance to work over domestic responsibilities, particularly rearing their children.  God does bless both sexes with talents and callings that can only be fulfilled in the public domain.  It would be wrong, given the diversity of situations, to apply a “cookie-cutter” rule on the issue of dual careers outside the home.  It would be right to state that couples with children should be “family-oriented” in their planning and to emphasize that God does not want career or employment to threaten marriage or family success.  Parenting is a fragile art that has profound impact upon our future and the quality of home life deeply affects our communities and our witness for Christ. 


Job 20:20; Ecc 5:8-20; Jer 9:23-24; Mt 6:19-20, 25-34; 1Co 1:31; 2Th 2:10.