Chapter 14 "Provide for His Own"
But if anyone does not provide for his own,
and especially for those of his household,
he has denied the faith,
and is worse than an unbeliever.
—1 Timothy 5:8
An extremely important role of a husband and father is that of the provider. The “Proverbs 31 Woman” did have “earnings” and her worth was far above jewels. Does that mean that having a “working wife” is what God intended? We must be careful in teaching this concept; we must neither add to nor take away from His Word. We must look at all the Scriptures that refer to women, wives, and especially mothers before making a decision to have our wives work outside the home. We must also examine the “fruits” of women who do work. Let’s begin searching His Word for the Truth that we can follow and share with others.
Many Christian men use the example of the “Proverbs woman” to justify their wives working outside the home. The key to looking at the “Proverbs woman” is to note that she bought a field and planted a vineyard. In today’s world we would call that being a farmer. As a farmer, she was not out of the home, away from her children or in the work force as most of the working women are today. She was under the authority of her own husband and therefore under the Lord. Since all travel was very slow, her field was most likely next to, or surely within walking distance from, her home, so she could still oversee the needs of her household.
Wives are to be under their own husbands. Your wife is not to be under another man’s or woman’s authority. “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). “. . . You wives be submissive to your own husbands . . .” (1 Pet. 3:1). “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord” (Col. 3:18). “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18). Is your wife a helper for another “him” (or her) at her job?
Wives are to work at home. “. . . (Women) be sensible, pure, workers at home . . .” (Titus 2:5). The harlot, we are told, “is boisterous and rebellious; her feet do not remain at home” (Prov. 7:11). Here we are told about just one of the rewards of having your wife remain at home: “And she who remains at home will divide the spoil” (Ps. 68:12). It is important to be honest here. When your wife works outside the home, she can’t help but neglect many of her duties at home. We will get more specific later in this chapter. Many times working women miss out on savings because they cannot shop for “sales” due to the lack of time. Also, those wives who stay at home are able to cook meals from scratch and do away with a lot of the expensive prepared foods.
A working wife cannot give the same time and attention to her children. We know that no one can take a mother’s place when it comes to love, sacrifice, and patience with her children. “Quality time” is a lie and it violates the following Scripture: “And you shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:7). In other words, all day long. Unfortunately, we have seen the fruits of the children who have been left on their own or given over to the care of someone else. Despite what others may say, the fact is that only a mother can give children the love and nurturing they so desperately need. That’s not to say that we fathers don’t have a role to play, but as someone once said, there is nothing like a mother’s love.
Your working wife eventually will feel dissatisfied with her life. Special interest groups and the media have encouraged women to copy men’s role in society. They have tried to “blur” the differences between men and women and make us, especially our wives, unhappy in our “God-given” and specially created roles. God tells us in Genesis that a wife is to be her husband’s “helper.” The feminists (and some of us) push or encourage our wives to get out and work—leaving behind their children, their homes, and us. And as our roles have become “blurred,” it has had a devastating effect on our children, our homes, our families, and our nation. Children look to their peers for guidance and approval. A wife now has her “own life” in her job and with her coworkers. This often causes a division in the husband/wife relationship that far too often results in divorce.
Having a working wife will damage your marriage. When your wife works outside the home, it creates an independence from you as her husband. In one issue of Business Week magazine, they looked at divorce from a financial standpoint. This study showed that “when a woman can provide for herself, she no longer feels the need to be married.” We know that she also begins to believe she doesn’t need to submit to her husband concerning what and when to buy, because she has “her own money.” “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be subject to their husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:24). When our wives are bringing in part of the family income, we tend to be careful not to touch the subject of money. This “authoritative equality” weakens the strength and effectiveness of our home and eventually our family’s future. Yet, many husbands encourage their wives to help out by going back to work. They never realize the ill effects this decision will have on the entire family. “He that is greedy of gain will trouble his own house” (Prov. 15:27).
Do not weary yourself to gain wealth. Proverbs 23:4 says, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” The question is, do you believe God’s Word? “And my God shall supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). His ways are perfect. Will you trust Him? Or do you think He needs your wife to abandon your home and work to supply all that you need?
A working wife must divide her affections and her priorities. Here’s some food for thought. If your wife works outside your home, she will actually display, toward her boss, those attitudes and characteristics of an ideal wife! “But He knew their thoughts, and said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls’” (Luke 11:17). When your wife is employed, she must fulfill and respond to all her boss’s needs and desires in order to keep her job. She may be asked to give up her time with her family: working late, coming in early, or working weekends. She will show gratitude when her boss compliments her on her appearance or her job performance. He may even take her out to lunch or give her a bonus or a gift.
Your wife will find herself in two competing worlds; each world has a different set of demands and rewards. Scripture tells us that we cannot serve two masters. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will hold to one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). Men, wake up! Do you want your wife out there with the wolves? Don’t be naive; it’s not just men running off with their secretaries or coworkers anymore. There has been an incredible increase in the number of women leaving their husbands for other men they met through their jobs!
A working wife will experience many destructive pressures. Working with others, especially non-Christians, will take its toll. Many feel that they are the “light” in their place of work. Consider Scripture that tells us to “leave the presence of a fool or you will not discern words of knowledge” (Prov. 14:7).“Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33). Another common pastime of women in the workplace is gossip. Proverbs 20:19 says, “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip.” Your wife will listen to other women who are dissatisfied or downright disgusted with their husbands and this will begin to breed the same attitude in your wife toward you.
Having a working wife sets a bad example to others. A working wife usually puts her husband’s needs on the back burner. Her husband must fend for himself when it comes to meals or having his clothes cleaned and pressed. Even his wife’s listening and sympathetic ear is gone, as she hurries in the evening to get ready for the next workday. Since we men typically don’t confide in other men, we may eventually find that “listening and sympathetic ear” in a woman from our workplace. “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:14–15). This can result in spiritual death and the death of our marriage.
Also, if your wife is working, she probably won’t be home when your children come home from school. Many women think that the “right time” to go to work (or go back to school) is when their children are all in school. This is why we have so many “latchkey kids” spending hours in front of the television watching immoral shows. Men, do not allow this to happen. If you do, you will be putting your children in a place of temptation. Consider Luke 17:2: “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Shocking studies have revealed that the parents’ own bed is the site of most premarital sex—while the parents are both out working. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers, God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).
Also, many of us are expected to be “helpers” to our wives, doing grocery shopping, picking up the children, etc. We are expected to do “our share” of the household chores, all for the “love of money.” Studies have confirmed, however, that we men rarely help out. Instead, we allow our wives to exhaust themselves trying to do it all.
God tells us that “having it all” is vanity. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (Ps. 127:2). When was the last time your wife was at the door to lovingly greet you when you came home from work? Many men find that being married to a working woman is like living as a bachelor without the benefits of the peace and quiet.
Having a working wife is financially unwise. Many husbands feel that their wives must work outside the home in order to make ends meet. Your combined gross income may be more, but you will also spend a lot more and pay more in income taxes. When both husband and wife are working, most families will acquire or upgrade their second car. They will spend more on clothing, dry cleaning, eating out, and of course childcare.
Your working wife will have no time to be an older Titus woman. “Older women . . . teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be dishonored” (Titus 2:3–5). If your wife has stayed at home with your children when they were young, you may think that now is the “ideal time” for her to go back to work or enter the work force. If this were the case then your wife will be joining so many other older women who are now spending time at their jobs. These older women are no longer available to teach the younger women how to be godly wives and how to discipline and train their children properly. These women are totally ineffective in regard to spiritual guidance since they have chosen to surround themselves with the foolish talk and ideas of the world. They have decided to follow the ways of the world rather than God’s ways. “Older women . . . teach what is good!” (Titus 2:3). If you allow your wife to follow this path, she will undoubtedly begin to absorb these worldly ways, bring them back to your home, and pass them down to your children and grandchildren.
Debt. Surely the biggest reason for us wanting our wives to work is that we are in debt. Rather than waiting for the things that we want, we buy on credit. Instead of living within our means, we live above our means. “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8). “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Prov. 22:7).
Getting out of debt. We must pray and work with God to get out of debt. This must be our heart’s (and prayers’) desire. You as the leader must set the example by not using your charge card and making sure each purchase is absolutely necessary. Consider fixing the things you feel you must replace. The key is to learn to wait! “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Satan’s plan is to steal your children (to daycare), to divide your home (two careers), and to ultimately destroy your family (divorce).
Does your wife overspend? Many men blame their financial troubles on their wives’ overspending. And often this may be true. But you as the head of your home must take the authority given to you by God and put a stop to a pattern that could eventually destroy your home. “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:3). But, before you point your finger at her, you must make sure that there isn’t a log in your eye! Are you also overspending?
Stop buying. One way to break the spending mode is to de-junk your house. I recommend you read the book Clutter’s Last Stand about de-junking your life by Don Aslett. As you begin to perceive many of your possessions as junk, you stop buying a lot of unneeded stuff. It worked for us.
Contentment. “Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Phil. 4:11). “And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim. 6:8). We husbands must fulfill the following verse: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). Discontentment stems from coveting others’ possessions. Teach this precept to your family. But again, your example, not merely your words, will have the most influence on your wife and children.
Faith. We men need to have faith that God will provide for our families’ needs (and so often our wants, too!) if we just learn to wait! “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).
Love of money. It isn’t money that is evil, but the “love” of money that destroys us. “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Tim. 6:10). “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have . . .” (Heb. 13:5).
Getting deeper into debt. Once a man gets a second job or sends his wife out to work, rather than getting out of debt, the couple will likely get into deeper debt. They inevitably will buy more and thus raise their standard of living to a higher level they must work to maintain. “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like an eagle that flies toward the heavens” (Prov. 23:4).
Out of order. Pray that you alone will be able and willing to support your family. One of the reasons you may be having a hard time financially supporting your family could be that your wife handles the finances. A man is ripped of his manliness when his wife pays the bills. Men, you need to be aware of not only how much money is coming in, but also where it is being spent. Be prepared for opposition, however. Many wives have a hard time giving up the “purse strings.” There is too much submission involved for their liking. Most women don’t want their husbands to know how much money they spend or where they spend it. They would rather “control” the money.
Men, allowing your wife to control the money is a big mistake. Many will make excuses and say that their wives are better with numbers, have more time, or are more responsible. Your wife needs to be under your authority in all things. “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:24). More arguments between husbands and wives are over money issues than anything else. Take back your authority in this area; do it today! Your family needs your protection and discernment in this area. If you need help, look around in your church for other men who control the finances in their homes and ask them for advice. Just be sure that their suggestions line up with Scripture before you begin to follow them.
Let us pray Psalm 37:4–9: “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way. Do not fret, it leads only to evil doing. But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.”
May God Keep the Christian Wife at Home!
Personal commitment: To obey God’s command, to provide for my own, and allow my wife to be a worker at home. “Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I commit to praying to be the sole provider for my family. I will commit to keep my wife in our home or require that she return home. I will appreciate the wife, home, and children God has given me. I will share the Truth about working wives with other men and pray that they too will want their wives to return home.”
“Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on, in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12).
If your wife is one of the few women who are privileged to be at home:
Encourage her to do all she can to reduce her spending and make sure each purchase is necessary. Encourage her to spend her time wisely, to keep your house in order, to keep up with all her responsibilities. Encourage your wife to learn the tasks that you are now paying for, like cutting your family’s hair, sewing and mending rather than throwing out, planting a garden, making crafts for gifts or to decorate your home, baking bread and other things from scratch. Encourage your wife to find an older Titus woman to help her. One way to increase the productivity of your home is to home school your children—pray about it!
Mothers who teach their children rather than sending them to school are mothers who, for the most part, are utilizing their talents and time at home for the good of the family. Encourage her to cut the amount of time she spends talking on the phone. “Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house” (Prov. 25:17). Remove the television. “I will set (TV set) no worthless thing before my eyes” (Ps. 101:3). “She does not eat the bread of idleness” (Prov. 13:27). Be sure to encourage and support your wife. You must also use your discernment to see the areas that are wearing out your wife and help her to rid herself of such burdens. This is a very delicate situation and we must be bathed in much prayer before we speak, act, or enforce a decision. Lastly, give your wife a kiss every night when you return home and thank her for caring for you, your children, and your home!
If you say you believe God, then obey Him. “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). If Jesus is your Lord of your life, then why don’t you act like it? Provide for your family and encourage your wife to remain at home to care for the family.
We must not debate Scripture with our pastors or with other men but “be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is within you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15). Also remember to “keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better that if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong” (1 Pet. 3:16–17).
If others teach or tell you something contrary to Scripture, remember, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words” (1 Tim. 6:3–6).
All of us must be careful to obey God’s Word, and by our example, teach others what He commands. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19–20). This includes teaching not only your sons and daughters, but also your sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers, sisters, and friends.
Remember, you can easily find someone who will tell you what you want to hear, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the Truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:2–3). You must commit to following God’s ways!