The High Calling Of Mothers Titus 2a
Stephen Caswell © 2004
Children Need Love
Salimbene, a thirteenth-century historian, wrote this about the attempt of King Frederick II to raise children without maternal affection: He wanted to find out what kind of speech children would have when they grew up if they spoke to no one beforehand. So he bade foster mothers and nurses to suckle the children, to bathe and wash them but in no way to prattle with them, or to speak to them, for he wanted to learn whether they would speak the Hebrew language, which was the oldest, or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perhaps the language of their parents, of whom they had been born. But he labored in vain, because the children all died. For they could not live without the petting and joyful faces and loving words of their foster mothers. No one can care for children like their mum.
Since today is Mother’s Day I thought we might look at on the important role mums play in society. Motherhood is not given the honor or recognition that it deserves. The media has warped today’s society regarding the true worth of mothers. Today we will look at the role of Mothers, or as Titus puts it the role of older women and younger women.
1. Older Women
Titus 2:1, 3: But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: That the older women likewise, be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things
Paul commands Titus to instruct the various age groups in the Church concerning holy living. The words sound doctrine mean healthy, whole. Titus was commanded to teach these things in Church. Paul picks up on 2 areas that the older women must pay attention to; Their Conduct and Their Conversation.
a. Their Conduct
Firstly, Paul starts with a positive requirement, Reverent Behavior. The word likewise joins the virtues mentioned before. ie sobriety, gravity, temperance, soundness in the faith, charity, and patience. These virtues recommended to aged men are applicable to both sexes, and to be looked to by aged women as well as men. Paul adds a couple more qualities to these. Firstly, reverence. The word reverent ἱεροπρεπής, means, holy, worthy of reverence, suitable for what is sacred. It describes Christian women who have grown in holiness as they have aged. Not giddy women whose thoughts are centered on frivolous matters! Older ladies show they are obedient to sound doctrine when they practice reverent behavior.
Secondly, Paul gives a warning, Not Given To Much Wine. Sound doctrine includes positive and negative instruction. The older women must be temperate in their use of wine. They should not be slaves to drink. In fact, they should not become enslaved by any food, beverage, or medicine. One of the fruit of the Spirit is self control. Titus was told to take the matter of alcohol usage very seriously. The command to be temperate or sober is repeated often in these few verses.
This requirement is just as relevant today in the Church. Drunkenness never enhances the Christian faith. Ephesians 5:18: Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. NLT
b. Their Conversation
Firstly, Paul gives a warning to the older women; they must not be Slanderers. Our words have power to build up or to tear down. The word slanderer, διάβολος, means to accuse falsely. On all but 3 occasions it is translated devil in the New Testament. Here in Titus it refers to someone doing the devil’s work. Paul warns ladies against picking up gossip and spreading it around. It is an apt word because malicious gossip is diabolical in its source and character. Drunkenness and slander were real possibilities for women whose families were grown and who may have had too much idle time on their hands. The tongue is a powerful tool for evil or good.
Secondly, Paul gives a positive requirement; Teachers Of Good Things, καλοδιδάσκαλος. Rather than slander, (doing the devil’s work), older women were to teach good things to other women (doing the Lord’s work). In verse 3 Paul makes a case for a special ministry in the church; older women teaching and counseling other women. Women know and understand other women better than men. Every woman needs another woman to confide in. Older women can edify other women with their words. Could there be better place for this to happen than in the church?
Mothers Make Preachers
Campbell Morgan says: My dedication to the preaching of the Word was maternal. Mother never told it to the baby or the boy, but waited. When but eight years old I preached to my little sister and to her dolls arrayed in orderly form before me. My sermons were Bible stories which I had first heard from my mother.
Of course for older women to teach other women they must first be practicing sound doctrine themselves. She should be a maturing, praying, trusting, godly Christian. Older ladies can share the things that God has taught them over the years. They can pass on what they have learnt by experience. Their counsel can help younger ladies to avoid some of the mistakes that they made. Where can the older women exercise this teaching ministry? Ladies Bible Studies, Scripture Classes in School or Church, Mothers Playgroups, Women’s Counseling, Crafts Groups; and many other places I am sure. But primarily in the home. Who can measure the potential of such a ministry!
Sisters can I encourage you to teach the younger ladies. They need your counsel, wisdom and support. Will you encourage your daughters and grandchildren? Will you make yourself available to other young women who are looking for someone to mentor them? Young ladies can I encourage you to seek the counsel of godly ladies in the fellowship. Their advice is invaluable. Will you be teachable? Will you learn from their experiences?
2. Younger Women
The older women teach the younger. The word admonish, σωφρονίζω, means to cause to be of sound mind, to advise, to encourage, to instruct in prudence or behavior that is becoming and shows good judgment. Remember, Paul said to speak the things which are proper for good doctrine in verse 1. The godly older women have the responsibility of teaching the younger women how to be successful wives, mothers, and housekeepers. This is sound doctrine. The younger women have the responsibility of listening and obeying. Paul majors on 3 things that young women must do; Loving, Discerning, and Working. These focus on family life.
2:4: that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.
Firstly, wives must love, φίλανδρος their husbands. This word primarily speaks of affection. Husbands need to be loved by their wives. The greatest priority in a home should be love. If a wife loves her husband and her children, she is well on the way to making the marriage and the home a success. If the wife loves her husband she will also honor him. Peter brings this out in his epistle and so does Paul in Ephesians. Husbands are commanded to love their wives in the letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians. Ephesians 5:33: Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Secondly, wives must love, φιλότεκνος their children.
· Let your home be your parish, your little brood your congregation, your living room a sanctuary, and your knee a sacred altar. - Billy Graham
· Motherhood is the greatest privilege of life. - May R. Coker
· No man is poor who has had a godly mother. - Abraham Lincoln
· The future destiny of a child is the work of a mother. Napoleon Bonaparte
Children need to be loved by both their parents. But a mother’s love helps to provide the security that every child needs so much, particularly in the early years. To love our families takes a lot of time and commitment. We can’t express our love for them when we aren’t with them. Childhood passes quickly; so we need to make the most of the time we spend with our kids. Mums how much time do you spend with your kids each day? Do you listen to them? Read to them? Do you tell them that you love them often? Do you help them with their homework?
The Role Of Women
Here is a paragraph by Ashley Montague from The Triumph and Tragedy of the American Woman, which appeared in the Saturday Review:
Women have great gifts to bring to the world of men, the qualities of love, compassion and humanity (that is, beauty of spirit). It is the function of woman to humanize, since women are the natural mothers of humanity. Women are by nature endowed with the most important of all adaptive traits, the capacity to love, and this is their principal function to teach men. There can be no more important function. It could be wished that both men and women understood this.
Once women know this, they will realize that no man can ever play as important a role in the life of humanity as a mentally healthy woman. And by mental health, I mean the ability to love and the ability to work. Being a good wife, a good mother, in short, a good homemaker is the most important of all occupations in the world. It surely cannot be too often pointed out that the making of human beings is a far more important vocation than the making of anything else, and that in the formative years of a child’s life, the mother is best equipped to provide those firm foundations upon which one can subsequently build.
b. Discerning Titus 2:5a: To be discreet, chaste.
Firstly, Good wives and mothers must be discreet. The word discreet, σώφρων, means to be in control of oneself, prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled. Discreet wives make good decisions. Because they are level headed they behave appropriately. Outlook determines outcome; and if a person is not thinking rightly, she will not act properly. A woman needs a correct and disciplined outlook on her ministry in the home. Self-controlled is the idea contained in this word. If parents do not discipline themselves, they can never discipline their children.
Secondly, Good wives are chaste. The word chaste, ἁγνός, means pure, holy, innocent, blameless. It describes someone who is morally pure, free from sin. Chaste means pure of mind and heart. 1 Peter 3:1-2: Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Wives must not entertain impure thoughts in any way. The TV soapie’s promote lifestyles that are immoral. Christian wives must be careful what they watch, read and think. A Christian wife is true to her husband in mind and heart as well as in action. Husbands should help to keep their wives pure in mind and body.
Centre Link Forms
When I was unemployed last year I had to fill out a form to claim for Job Search allowance. The forms asked questions regarding jobs I had applied for and any income that I earned. There was also a question about spouses. Did your partner do any work this fortnight? Whenever I asked Sandy this question she looked at me with daggers in her eyes. Society doesn’t class housework as real work. Because it’s a labor of love not for a pay pack it is looked down on. But they are wrong!! God says it’s a vital job.
Titus 2:5: to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Firstly, Paul describes the work women are called to in the home. Paul says that wives are to be homemakers. This word οἰκουργός, means working at home, to be occupied with domestic affairs, busy at home, carrying out household duties. Keepers at home does not suggest that her home is a prison where she must be kept! Caring for the home is the idea. The home is God’s place of ministry for women to serve the family and society.
There is no higher calling. To raise godly children is a mother’s greatest reward. Psalm 128:3: Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. I may get in trouble here, but I must say this: A wife’s first responsibility is in her home. The home is not a playpen; it is a serious responsibility to be a wife and to care for children in the home. It is not something to be taken lightly. Children need love not things. Love is essential, possessions are not.
It takes a mother’s dedication, love and time to turn a house into a home. And this is what God has gifted mothers to do. The wise husband allows his wife to manage the affairs of the household, for this is her ministry. In years gone by, the family home was a place of security and ministry. Mothers opened their homes for hospitality with neighbors, Bible Studies and other children. When their children were at school they ministered in the Church and community. Children knew when they came home mum would be there to talk to, to answer their questions and to help them with their homework.
The Greatest Teacher
A London editor submitted to Winston Churchill for his approval a list of all those who had been Churchill’s teachers. Churchill returned the list with this comment: You have omitted to mention the greatest of my teachers - my mother.
If mothers are busy in the work force, who will bring up the children? Not the school! Who will teach them godly values? Not the TV. Who will give them the love and security that children long for? Not the Daycare Centre! Who will give them wise and godly counsel when they need it? Not their peers! Only a loving mother can do these things. Is it worth it to gain the things that money can buy if you lose the things that money can’t buy? You can’t buy contented children. You can’t buy a peaceful home. You can’t buy godly children. You can’t buy a happy marriage. All these require a loving serving mum.
Reasons For Prisoners
600 teenagers we found in New England’s prisons gave these startling facts as to why they were there: 6 out of 10 had fathers who drank to excess. Many had mothers in the same condition. 3 out of 4 were permitted by parents to come and go as they pleased. No parental oversight. 7 out of 10 had homes where no group or family activities were enjoyed. And for all of them, no family altar, no Sunday School attendance.
James Dobson in his book Bringing Up Boys, says that if at all possible mothers should stay at home while the children are growing up. Read from the book, Pgs 86-87.
Secondly, a wife is to be good. The word good, ἀγαθός, means generous or kind. She does not rule her household with an iron hand, but practices the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26: She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. Mothers can encourage their children through words of praise. They need to be careful not to find fault with everything that their children do. Good mothers pray for their children and make sacrifices for them. Society can’t accurately value the worth of a godly mother.
Billy Sunday tells of a minister who was making calls. He came to a certain home and asked for the mother but the child opening the door answered, You cannot see mother for she prays from nine to ten. He waited forty minutes to see that mother, and when she came out of her prayer closet the light of glory was on her face, and he knew why that home was so bright; he knew why her two sons were in the ministry and her daughter a missionary. All hell cannot tear a boy or girl away from a praying mother. Billy Sunday.
Thirdly, wives are to obey. The word obey, ὑποτάσσω, means to submit, be subject to. It is a military term that describes soldiers marching in ranks behind their commanding officer. Ephesians 5:22: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. While the wife is busy at home, it is the husband who is the leader in the home; so the wife must be obedient. But where there is love, there is little problem with obedience. And where the desire is to glorify God, there is no difficulty that cannot be worked out.
That the Word of God be not blasphemed is a good motive for cooperation and obedience at home. It is sad to see the way family problems, and even divorces, among Christians cause unsaved people to sneer at the Bible. By showing forth good qualities, Paul wrote, young Christian wives and mothers would earn the respect of outsiders and thereby prevent God’s Word from being maligned. Christians living by the world’s standards bring shame upon the Christian faith. Sound doctrine means that we obey God’s Word. It means that we put spiritual values before material ones.
The story is told of an eleventh-century German king, King Henry III, who, having grown tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch, applied to a monastery to be accepted for a life of contemplation. The religious superior of the monastery, Prior Richard, is reported to have said, Your Majesty, do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king. Henry replied, I understand. The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you. Then I will tell you what to do, said Prior Richard. Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has placed you. When King Henry III died, a statement was written: The King learned to rule by being obedient.
Like King Henry, we too often tire of our role and responsibility. Like King Henry, we too need to be reminded that God has placed each of us in a particular place to be faithful there. Be it as a plumber, accountant, mother, father, or whatever, God expects us to be faithful where he has placed us.
Younger women can I encourage you to make the home your priority. You have the most important job in the world. Will you fulfill your high calling as a mother? Will you love you husband and your children? Will you devote yourself to meet their needs by providing a happy home for them? Will you put their spiritual well being above material possessions? Your greatest fulfillment will come from seeing your children grow in the Lord. Your greatest grief could come from wayward children. May the Lord bless you in your service for God.
Numbers 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.