Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Part 3 – Love Does not Envy, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“Love does not envy.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

As I meditate on the concept of true, Godly love not be envious or jealous, and how that affects me personally as a keeper of the home, I find that it is quite relevant to my day to day life. In fact, jealousy and envy is one of the sins I struggle with more often. Studying the word’s origins is quite revealing. The word for “envy” is the Greek word “zēloō” which can be translated to “burn with zeal, to be heated, to boil with envy, hatred or anger, jealousy, to covet”. Interestingly, the same word can be used for a good type of zeal and can also be translated to mean “to be zealous in the pursuit of good, to desire one earnestly, to strive after one”.

When we think about pursuing someone with all your heart, the only One we should pursue with that intensity is Jesus Christ. At the same time, our amazing Savior is pursuing us and has a righteous jealousy towards us. That’s amazing and beautiful. What an honor to be pursued by the King of Kings! We can see that this word zēloō is to show us the type of zeal and burning we should have to follow after Christ with all that we have within us.

So how do we know when zēloō is righteous and when it is sin? Easy. The only zēloō that is good is when we are chasing after the Lord when we want more and more of Him and are never satisfied until we have all of Jesus in our lives. Chasing after anything other than the Lord with that heart becomes envy, jealousy, coveting, idolatry and sin. So here’s where we fall into danger.

I mentioned earlier that I struggled with envy. I certainly do. I envy women who I see as being more beautiful than myself. I sometimes struggled with envying others for their material possessions, their beautiful homes, their nice cars, their lack of struggles  to pay the bills each month. Being one that struggles with fertility issues, I have envied women who have been able to have babies easily. I admit that I have had to repent for envying women who seemed to have much better and easier lives than I. That envy, when left to rule our hearts, can turn to anger and hatred. It can cause us to burn on the inside and eats us alive. I’m ashamed that I have ever looked at a sister in the Lord and been so jealous of her that I burned with anger, but I have. I also have repented and am forgiven, praise Jesus!

Envy is not love and it does not produce love. Furthermore as a homekeeper, when I am envious of another woman’s home because it is beautiful, larger than mine, she has nice things, etc. I am being incredibly ungrateful for the home the Lord has given me and entrusted into my care. When we become ungrateful for what we have, we don’t care for what we have as we ought to. In other words, my lack of gratitude, brought on by envy, causes me to be a poorer homekeeper. When our eyes are always on the house across the street, we take our eyes off of our home and how we can make it special for our family. We may have not have the biggest or nicest house on the street, but we can make our home warm and joyful for our family and that’s what matters.

We must put off envy. We should not be chasing after material, earthly things, but sprinting towards Jesus all the time. Let us not be envy our sister’s home, possessions or even children, but let us be grateful for the family and home God has given us. Love does not envy. Let us love.

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My Calling Towards Home Education

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

I always attended public school growing up, as did my husband in Scotland. The school I went to from 4th to 8th grade was a great school in a small town and I felt that I got a good education there. I went on to a public high school and then straight to a four-year university to be trained up in music education. My ultimate goal was to become a high school choir director and to teach in public school myself. You can imagine the surprise when I felt the Lord turning my heart towards homeschooling just after I married my husband.

I was living in Scotland with my hubby when I started to think about home education. We lived in a small town where I would encounter the kids walking to their schools each morning. They all wore uniforms, some of which included mini-skirts that I found to be appalling. The words I would often hear from their mouths were even more disheartening, and ones I wouldn’t want to mention here for fear of offending my readers. I wondered how I would worry if one day I were sending my own children off to these schools. Would these be the kids they befriended and learned from? Would they be mocked when their mother wouldn’t allow the mini-wear? What about the material being taught?

I recall talking to a young lady from our church. She attended a Catholic school, which is quite common over there. She said that one of her nun teachers had instructed the class during “religion” class that Jesus really didn’t do a miracle and physically multiple the loaves and fish to feed the five-thousand plus. She said, “The real miracle was that He got the people to share and that’s what the story was trying to tell.” Yikes! A nun telling kids in public Catholic school that Jesus’ miracles were not to be taken literally?

This all got me thinking and praying. I talked to my pastor’s wife, who had been home schooled herself growing up, and is one of the finest women I know. We talked about the things our children would be force-fed in public school. They would be taught the theory of evolution as if it were fact and dismiss any suggestion of creation or a Creator. They would be taught the old-age of the earth as fact without mention of other possibilities or holes in the theories. They would be given sex-education classes where current issues of birth control, homosexuality, masturbation, sexual identity and abortion would be explained by secular teachers instead of parents. These, and many more issues, kept running through my mind and heart. After much prayer, research and Holy Spirit tugging I found myself sold on the concept of home education and my husband confirmed that he too was on board.

I’m not sharing this because I think everyone needs to homeschool. Perhaps homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Not all women can stay at home to teach. Many have to work outside the home to make ends meet. Others feel that they aren’t equipped with the patience to homeschool and that’s okay. I’m not sharing my story as a means to judge or put down anyone who has chosen to use public education. I know many awesome Christian parents who have gone this route and who have great kids. I am simply sharing my calling towards home education, how God put it on my heart and why I believe it’s what He wants me personally to do.

Luke 6:40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'”

Proverbs 13:20 “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.”

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

These are some of the verses that encourage me in my decision to homeschool. Jesus said in Luke that a student becomes like the teacher. While I know many wonderful teachers out there and respect them thoroughly, I also know that I cannot ensure every teacher my daughter would sit under would be a Christian, and that is important to me. I want my daughter to be influenced by people under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Along the same lines I want to know that the children my daughter forms close friendships with are also being trained up in the Lord. I want to know they are being taught purity, good character and morality. While we are called to be lights to this world, I believe it is wise to wait until my daughter is older and firmly founded in the Word herself before exposing her to the world to shine.

We as parents as supposed to train up our children. We are also supposed to prioritize what are the most important things for them to learn. While my daughter will be fully educated in math, science, history, geography, literature, etc., a big part of her studies will also be in the Bible. I love that we can start each day with Bible and prayer time. She will learn about evolution and creation. She will learn about history…all the way back to the Garden of Eden. She will learn about how God made her female and what that means from her mother. She will also learn how to cook (hopefully better than me!) and clean and take care of a home. I get excited just thinking about it!

I have faced all of the stereotypes and stigmas attached to homeschoolers by those who have questioned our choice and all I can say is that I have found them to be in error. I have taught a homeschooling choir for over three years and have worked with over 45 homeschooling families. Getting to know these kids I have found them to be nothing at all as they are portrayed by those who don’t agree with homeschooling. They are delightful, bright, respectful, social and sweet kids who just shine. I adore them and their parents! In my time I have only met one family that was a little different, but the rest have been wonderful! Statistics also show that home educated children often graduate early from high school and do very well in college.

Again, I want to make it clear that I am not saying my way is the only way. I know there are great schools out there and wonderful teachers. I know that good, involved parents can and do keep up with what their kids are being taught and continue to train the kids after school hours in the things of the Lord. I am not judging others for going with public school. I am simply sharing my personal calling and why my husband and I have felt guided by the Lord into homeschooling our little ones. It is a challenge and a blessing, and I can’t wait to see what the future will hold as we continue down this path. God bless!

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Practicing Hospitality

“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate…” Titus 1:7-8

One of the ways we serve the Lord as keepers of the home is to open the doors of our home to others and show hospitality. The Guest Room is all about using your home to bless others. I do want to make it clear right from the start, however, that you are to only show hospitality as long as your husband has agreed to it and does not mind. Remember that your first calling is to submit to your own husband so do not disobey him even in order to do thing that would be considered good or right. That being said, hospitality is a beautiful calling and one that God has spoken of often in His Word.

The passage above from Titus (also found in 1 Timothy) is a list of qualifications for a bishop in the church. A bishop would be an overseer or elder in the church body. He is held to a high standard because he will take on the responsibility of caring for the body of Christ and it is a big deal. So part of the qualifications for a man to become a bishop is that he must be a lover of hospitality. He doesn’t just tolerate hospitality, but he loves it. To understand what that means we need to know what the word “hospitality” really does mean.

Looking up the Greek word we can see that there is not much to go on. The word simply means “hospitable or generous to guests.” It doesn’t say much. In the dictionary the word “hospitality” means: “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers, the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly or generous way.” So hospitality is welcoming guests and strangers. This is fantastic! Who knew that as Christians we were to be welcoming strangers? We would have if we were reading the Bible as we should be because it says so right there.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

I love this verse in Hebrews because it ties right in with the story of Lot. When the angels came to his town he showed them hospitality and brought them into his home. He was indeed entertaining strangers unawares! Then we see his family was the only one to be brought outside of Sodom before the firestorm. God wants us to welcome strangers and guests into our lives, whether it be at home, in the church, or wherever we can serve them. We should also be welcoming our church family into our homes and sharing life with them. In the book of Acts, the disciples of Christ and New Testament Christians went from home to home each night, breaking bread together and talking about Jesus. This is the kind of close-knit relationships we are meant to have within the body of Christ. I believe the church family should be so close that we are connected in unity, but we should also be ever-so ecstatic to open our arms to strangers and draw them in.

 “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” 1 Peter 4:9

We are to extend hospitality and also do so with a good heart and attitude. Have you ever invited a family from church over for dinner and forgot that you had a very busy day planned and ended up running around like a lunatic all day to get the house in order, the groceries bought and the dinner cooked before your guests arrived? I have done this very thing. You love having people over but the added work can sometimes be a heavy burden and that can lead to complaining and grumbling. God wants us to show hospitality to others with a good attitude. He wants us to enjoy it. How can we make ourselves enjoy what is a difficult task to accomplish? We are as prepared as possible and we realize that God is not asking us for perfection. The house doesn’t have to be immaculate, nor the meal sublime, in order to extend hospitality. The more you practice hospitality, the more it will become a way of life and a part of life that is not stressful but pleasant.

This gift of hospitality is one way that God knits our hearts together with others from our church body. My husband I believe that having close relationships within the church is very important. We therefore try often to have other families over for dinner in order to get to know them better, find out how they are doing, and simply edify one another in the Lord. If I waited until my schedule was clear or my house was in perfect array before I invited anyone over, we would miss a lot of good, uplifting fellowship time with our brothers and sisters.

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Managing the Home

“So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” 1 Timothy 5:14

If our husbands are the leaders of the home, then we certainly are the general managers, as this scripture implies. Wives, we are to manage our households to the best of our ability. It is an important part of our calling. We are given the wonderful job of making sure the home is flowing smoothly, kept up and is a place of renewing and refreshing for our families.

Men are funny, aren’t they? I laugh to myself as I think about my sweet husband and how little he knows about what all I do to keep our home running smoothly. He is out during the day, winning the bread and working hard, and he has no clue as to how much work it is to keep the home clean, the laundry done, food stocked in the kitchen, our daughter bathed and dressed and healthy, bills paid (hopefully!) and then to have dinner ready when he gets home from work.

My husband is the type of man who is always willing to lend a hand around the house, which is great. I think it’s so funny when he does something around the house and then is so excited to tell me all about the task that he accomplished. He may, for example, come in and inform me that he emptied the rubbish bin in the bathroom. Translating from my husband’s Scottish brogue to American English that would mean he emptied the trash can. He is just ever-so excited to tell me what he has done and remind me that he did it because he loves me! Bless his heart!

I giggle because I think it’s both sweet and such a typical man maneuver. I think many people miscalculate the massive amount of work it is to manage a home and to do it right. This is not at all to complain. On the contrary I think we as wives should feel blessed that God has counted us worthy and able to fulfill such a calling. We are the managers of our homes and all that it entails. We can take those responsibilities and whine about how hard it is, or strive to be the best home keepers we can be. I would rather the latter.

There’s no one way to keep a home. Some wives like to keep lists, checkpoints and very organized routines. Others enjoy a more casual approach. I know a friend who has a housework weekly and monthly calendar for herself. She basically organizes the week’s tasks into daily chores, making sure to accomplish everything without overloading one particular day. It works for her and I admire her organization. The trick is to find something that works for you and stick with it. I motivate myself to work hard during the week so that I can relax with my husband more on the weekends. He appreciates that too.

Another encouragement is to try not to let your housework get too tedious or serious. Put on some worship music and have fun while you’re doing your chores. Get the kids involved. It’s a great opportunity to teach them and develop these skills in their lives. I know I want my daughter to grow up knowing how to keep a tidy house and cook for her family someday. These are as important to her life as learning mathematics and science in my opinion. I want to prepare her to be a wife and a mother, in addition to whatever else the Lord does in her life.

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