Summary: A Mother’s Day message that looks for and identifies a Christian model for those moms who work outside the home, "working moms."

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Lydia, A Model for the Working Woman

Sunday, May 12, 2002

TEXT: Acts 16: 11-15, 40

For me as a teenager, Mother’s day was a wonderful experience at church. I looked forward to it because it was a lot of fun. There were always little prizes and awards and everyone was happy for the mothers in the congregation. Over time, I think this has changed, for good or for bad, and perhaps it’s for good. Perhaps the pastors in my church weren’t as sensitive as they should have been because Mother’s day is not necessarily a good experience for some. When we think of Mother’s day, we think of mothers, but of course not all women are mothers. There are a lot of women who cannot have children, and my sister-in-law is one of those. That’s very painful for her. Mother’s day can also remind people of the loss of a child or the loss of their own mother, and that can be a very painful reminder. Still, others did not have a good relationship with their mothers, and some mothers were bad mothers. So, there are some people who do not celebrate Mother’s day for that reason. In fact, if you are struggling with this today, Pastor Patti is going to remain up front for a time of prayer with those who would like to come forward and pray with her.

The social context has also changed from when I was a kid. Just about everyone was an at-home mom. That was really the context of the New Testament. Women didn’t have the freedom economically to work outside the home, and so they worked in the home. Today women do work outside the home. In fact, there is a vast diversity among us in this congregation today. I read an article in Focus on the Family that took all four perspectives: the mom who stayed at home, the mom who had a business in the home, the mom who worked outside the home, and the single mom who was forced to work outside the home.

The surprising part of the article was that two of the four women interviewed felt shunned by the church or felt as though the church treated them as outsiders. Of those two, who do you think they were? The single mom, and the working mom.

I am careful about using the term “working mom” because that rips at-home moms. In our idioms and our culture, the term “working mom” means mothers who work outside the home. But at-home moms say, “Where does that leave us? Don’t we work?” You can see how hard it is to speak on Mother’s day. It is not an easy thing to do anymore because the audiences are very diverse, and you can’t possibly address all the different issues and all the audiences at the same time.

Today I would like to address the working mom in particular simply because so many times they feel as though the church favors the at-home mom. I don’t know if that’s true or not, and we ask the question whether the Biblical model for motherhood is the at-home mom. If not, is there a Biblical model for the working mom, the mom who chooses to work outside the home. I think there is, and we find that in Acts 16: 11-15, 40.

What guidelines are there in scripture for the working mom? What you will discover in the process of dealing with this passage are insights for all women and for men as well. The principles applied to Lydia’s life apply to all of us.

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