“But [a housewife’s work] is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? … We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist.”
When C.S. Lewis first wrote these words to a “Mrs. Johnson” in 1955, the world looked considerably different for mothers.
Though far from a paradise of liberty and justice for all, the America the 1950s housewife and mother would have found herself in may have seemed a far safer and quieter environment in which to raise children and keep a home to the glory of God.
The tumult and chaos of the 21st century, however, shouldn’t cause us to forget or reject Lewis’ sage and oft-paraphrased words on the high calling of housework—may we never.
Instead, Lewis’ words to Mrs. Johnson should serve as a comfort to us, especially today. When we are cleaning up the day’s third spilled glass of milk, changing its tenth diaper, or dutifully brushing its hesitant teeth, we are quite literally contributing to the posterity of the human race and our very civilization.
Ultimately, we must remember that it is not our work or will that will be done, but God’s. We cannot impose on ourselves the burden of ensuring our children’s salvation or their future any more than we can our own.
We simply preach the Gospel to our children as we walk the path of raising and educating them day by day and we trust our merciful God with the rest.
By no means is the office of motherhood—or even being a wife, for that matter—the highest calling for the daughter of the King. The role to which He has called her, as the author and sovereign Director of her steps, whatever that may be, is her privilege and duty.
Those whose calling involves the minute-by-minute teaching, guiding, and constant pointing to the Gospel of precious little image-bearers, however, have the God-given capacity to collectively shape the character and future of the nation.
It sure can be hard to remember that in the thick of it, though.
When we remember that the little people you are helping and correcting and constantly wiping down through the day are just that—little people—the mundaneness quickly wears off.
Furthermore, when we scan oceans of text in search of the best curriculum for the upcoming school year—or raid the shelves of libraries and thrift stores to create our own—we are fortifying the fortress walls of our children’s minds against the coming onslaught of culture.
If, instead, we find our hours spent discussing with our children what they’ve learned in school that day, what they think about it, how they can determine its truth or falsity, we are equipping them with strong armor to withstand any arrow.
Living in modern American culture as a conservative Christian is not too different from walking through a minefield—figuratively, thankfully. Enemies are hidden, dangers are everywhere.
In fact, some dangers may be dressed as entertainers, as societal authorities, as educational resources. If we are not saturating our children in truth daily, these enemies will find fertile ground in which to sow. We must protect them.
Thankfully, it’s more of a cumulative task over time than a once-and-for-all herculean feat to protect our children from the lies of the culture.
Every time we affirm to our children that God made the heavens and the earth, we protect them.
Every time we declare that God made their bodies and those of all humanity perfectly male and female, we protect them.
Every time we remind them that God ordains the civil government under which we find ourselves—whose documents allow us to work to change that government for the better—we protect them.
Every time we point them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the culture’s false gospel of self-gratification, we protect them.
Every little thing we do in these small beginnings can be mightily used by God to turn the tide of the very culture we are waging war against.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24