The pastor of a multi-site church in Texas recently responded to a question on whether the Bible says it's OK for moms to work. While it's not forbidden, Todd Wagner questioned the motive behind a mother choosing to work over being at home with her children.
"A lot of times what women are doing is they're going 'hey, I get greater fulfillment when I'm out there doing these other things' or 'I want to make more money,'" Wagner, senior pastor at Watermark Community Church, said in a "Real Truth. Real Quick." podcast.
"If the reason you're doing it (working outside the home) is because you want to, then I would say let's not be motivated by that."
Wagner stressed that the question he was addressing specifically referred to mothers and that this was not about whether women in general should work.
Work itself, he said, is not a sin. Rather, it's a blessing that was given to man (before the Fall).
"God gave us work as a chance for us to have purpose and dignity and to exist in a way that was going to lead to human flourishing," the pastor explained.
So "we've got to make sure that everything we do is for those that we are here to serve."
"It is not to make our lives more comfortable," he added.
Nothing, he said, is esteemed more in God's eyes than giving birth to and shaping a human made in the image of God.
Citing 1 Timothy 2:15, Wagner said, "Women will be given purpose and significance among other things through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint."
"Mamas ought to do what they do because they love their kids, not because they love a job, not because they love more flexibility to vacation where they want, not because they love the kind of car they can drive or the school they can send their kid to later if they work," he continued. "They are to be defined by self-restraint, not self-serving. They don't want to be a person that does what they do so that they can have something that feeds their flesh.
"One of the things that marks a mother is the way she sacrifices for her children even maybe her career for a season."
Wagner acknowledged that not all women — such as single moms — have the luxury of not working and staying home with their children. But he advised that if able, mothers —especially of children who are not yet at the age of attending school — should be present at home.
The Texas pastor didn't leave the responsibility solely on women, however. He stressed that the presence of fathers is just as important and rebuked workaholics.
"There are guys who abandon their family and are workaholics … because they get more strokes and acclaim and praise out there working. So rather than be present as a father, they're trying to get their value and dignity somewhere else," he noted.
In the end, Wagner concluded: "Is it a sin to betray your highest calling which is to care for those that are made in the image of God that you are stewards of and responsible for?
"You bet it is, whether you're male or female. So don't mess with that for more comfort, promise or worldly acclaim."