We live in a largely dual-income world, which means many of the women in our churches work at least part-time. Although these women may feel called to work or have a financial need to work, many still battle insecurity and guilt in Christian circles. They may fear that others think they lack a biblical view of womanhood or will label them “bad moms” because they work outside the home.
Even if no one else verbalizes these concerns, working women often battle them in their own hearts and minds. Because of her job, a working woman probably can’t attend the midweek morning Bible study at church. She may not be able to host afternoon playdates or serve as the room mom at her kid’s school. And while those may seem like small pieces of her life, the Enemy can use them to create guilt and doubt about the season she’s in and the places God has called her to serve.
Many working women battle insecurity and guilt in Christian circles.
Pastors, you can proclaim truths from God’s Word with love and authority. Here are a few things working women need to hear from you that will help drown out our culture’s counterfeit offers and shortcuts.
1. You have limits.
Our culture claims women can be it all, do it all, and have it all—be a better mom, make a higher salary, cook healthier meals, have a more fit body, and create a perfectly decorated home. Although it sounds good, these claims are not only capable of producing a highlight reel at best but they also contradict the foundational truth that God is limitless (Luke 1:37; Isa. 40:28)—and we’re not.
Because we’re limited, we have to set priorities. Matthew 6:33 tells us where to start: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Working women need to be reminded to seek God first and trust him to put “all these things” in their proper places. If she tries to seek God while also seeking everything else, he will become just one more thing in her life instead of being her Source of life.
Encourage women in your church to boast in their dependence on God rather than striving to depend on themselves. Remind them that as believers, self-sufficiency is a deficiency. Recognizing and honoring limits instead of ignoring them will draw working women closer to Christ.
2. Your work at home matters.
A woman’s boss probably doesn’t praise her efforts at home for her family. And the number of married women who come to church without their husbands serves as a subtle reminder that women in your church may not have their efforts acknowledged at home either. Remind women that God sees everything. None of her work goes unnoticed by him. And what God knows about her matters more than what anyone else may think or say about her.
Encourage the women of your church to put Titus 2 into practice by pouring into the next generation. Highlight the instruction in Titus 2:4 that older women are to “train the young women to love their husbands and children.” Training implies that not everything about being a wife and mom will come naturally. It’s OK to need teaching. It’s OK to need reminders. It’s OK that sometimes it’s hard. God has provided support and help in the body of Christ. A woman’s family is worth her effort, and her effort matters. That’s radically different language from cultural extremes of Pinterest-worthy motherhood and the “hot mess” mom.
3. Your job matters too.
Remind working women that the reason they work is bigger than completing certain tasks or having a particular title. Though there’s great value in the work she performs, she’s also in her workplace to be a witness for Christ. Proximity, common ground, and regular interaction make work one of the easiest places for us to build relationships with those who don’t know the Lord.
Encourage working women to pray for their coworkers and for God to open doors for gospel conversations. Challenge her to go against the climb-the-ladder mentality and instead be known as the person in the office who serves everyone around her. Cast a kingdom-minded vision for work that will encourage her about the value of her labors.
4. Your identity is based on what Jesus has done, not on what you do.
It’s easy to stumble into performance mode, especially when a woman’s performance is evaluated and potentially praised for 40 or more hours of her week.
More than anything else, what working women need to hear from their pastors is the refreshing truth of the gospel in every sermon.
More than anything else, what working women need to hear from their pastors is the refreshing truth of the gospel in every sermon. A working woman needs to be reminded that there’s nothing she can do that will make God love her more, and there’s nothing she can do that will make him love her less. He initiated love for her while she was still a sinner (Rom. 5:8). The same gospel that saved her is the gospel that will sustain her.
From working women everywhere: thank you, pastors, for caring for us.