What does the Bible say about women in the workforce?
Stefani Pady
What does the Bible say about women working? Picture of 4 ladies at a table working on laptops.

Inside: What does the Bible say about women working outside the home? Are we “less Christian?” What does the Bible say about women staying home? Are women called to stay home? Is one better than the other? What does the Bible say about this hot topic? You’ll want to check out our examples of women working in Scripture, what God calls us to do, and how to decide what do to in your life.

 

I once facilitated the conversation at an event where women were able to chat about their struggles with other women. In that session, God did what God does, and worked in His perfectly ironic way. Each table had a discussion topic, two of which were work and home. I didn’t plan it this way, but a group of working women got HOME as their topic, and a table of stay-at-home wives and mothers, got the topic of WORK. And guess what we learned…

 

Both spent countless hours worrying if they were doing the right thing.

The women in the workforce felt guilty. They worried they weren’t devoting enough time to their family. A few were desperate for the opportunity to stay at home.

The stay-at-home women felt guilty, too. They were bothered by the fact they weren’t providing an income to their household. Some yearned for a purpose outside of taking care of little ones.

I have always worked outside the home and remember when my kids were itty bitty, coming home from a long commute and seeing my stay-at-home mom friends playing in my cul-de-sac (sometimes even with my kids!). That sight always made me feel shame (am I shortchanging my kids by working?) and jealousy (I wish I could do that!).

It turns out the grass isn’t always greener, my friend. And I now clearly see why God purposefully placed me exactly where I was.

 

What does the Bible say about women in the workforce?

If women in both camps worry if they are doing the right thing… How do we know which one is right? What does the Bible say about women working?

Actually, the Bible gives us examples of women in both camps. Let’s discuss two of these beautiful babes.

 

The Stay-at-Home Woman: Abigail

“Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite.”

1 Samuel 25:3 ESV

 

If you haven’t met Abigail before, you aren’t alone. She’s rarely examined in your typical church service.

Abigail was married to Nabal, a wealthy man Scripture describes as worthless (1 Samuel 25:17. When David needed food for his army, he asked Nabal for assistance. Nabal refused, even though David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds. One servant who witnessed the exchange told Abigail, and she made haste to help in hopes of saving her family (1 Samuel 25:18).

If you read between the lines in this story, you’ll notice that Abigail worked inside the home. She stayed at home and managed her household.

I want you to hear this loud and clear: If you stay at home, that is work, too.

Whether you take care of the kids or keep the household running, you are contributing to your household by doing important work.

In Abigail’s case, she managed the household well. We know she had the trust of her household helpers because they came to her for help (You hear that?! It is OK to have household helpers!).

 

Brave and Bold

I think stay-at-home mommas sometimes inherit a stigma of being “soft:” women who are submissive and sweet and don’t truly have a say in their household.

Abigail’s example shows us the opposite is true.

She acted decisively and, quite literally, saved the day. She was bold and brave and fearless. Sometimes choosing to put a pause on your career dreams is exactly that, BRAVE.

In 1 Samuel 25:32–33 ESV, we see that Abigail not only saved her household, she saved David from making a big mistake that could have threatened his life.

God used Abigail to save David and protect the bloodline of our Savior, Jesus (who is one of David’s descendants).

 

The Working Woman: Lydia

One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Acts 16:14-15 NIV

 

We meet Lydia when we learn about Paul’s journeys in the book of Acts. Lydia becomes a Christian and becomes an important benefactor of the early church. Paul and Silas stayed at her house!

In Paul’s day, purple cloth was a sign of royalty and wealth. I want you to picture the most lucrative career you can.

What are you picturing? VP of Sales? Chief Financial Officer? A Consulting Connoisseur?

Lydia is the corner office Sales VP of her day. She was a boss babe in a highly lucrative career. She works hard outside of the home and is wealthy.

And guess what? God works through her and the fruits of her career, too.

Paul and Silas needed somewhere to sleep and food to eat to spread the gospel. God blessed Lydia with a lucrative career and wealth so that she could provide for Paul and Silas and further the ministry of the early church.

 

Which one is “right?”

Abigail and Lydia are just two examples of many we could look at in Scripture. One way isn’t universally “right” or “wrong” and it is important to know the truth.

We are not defined by society’s expectations. We are defined by God (it’s all there for us in the Good Book). We make our best decisions when we follow what God calls us to do.

 

Do you know what Abigail and Lydia had in common?

They sought the Lord and honored Him in their circumstance. Our friend the Proverbs 31 Woman did that, too. In between running profitable vineyards and making bed coverings, she feared the LORD. Simply put: Fear of the LORD is having reverence for who God is—and He is Holy.

We can seek Him, honor Him, and ask Him for help wherever we find ourselves! You can thrive right where you are and also create a plan to get to where He is calling you to be.

 

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30 NIV

 

So, how do you decide what’s best for you?

The question isn’t, “which one is right?” The question is, “which one is right for me in this season of my life?”

I get it, knowing whether or not you should work outside the home can be hard. And most of us are not going to make some large and instant sweeping change in our circumstances. But we can make a bold move to let go of guilt, worry, and anxiety about the decisions we have made so far.

I have a game-changing asset I call the “Divine Decision-Making Guide” that I want to share with you. If you’re facing this, or any, decision, I believe it can help. We have seen so many women positively impacted by this tool. In fact it is what lead me and Jennifer, my colleague on the WWW team to make our most recent career moves! If that sounds good to you, grab the guide, and email me with questions. I promise I will respond.

It’s yours, free, below 😊

 

✨Divine Decision-Making Guide✨

5 simple steps to get clarity around making big decisions by understanding what God is calling you to do.

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