Titus 2: 1-5, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
When I was younger, I desperately wanted an older woman in my life who would care about me, teach me, answer questions, guide me. There was so much that I needed guidance in, so many things that I wanted to learn…about homemaking, gardening, cooking, about being a wife, a mother, a homeschooler. Simple things, many of them were, but they were important to me. No one would help me. I asked so many ladies; many, many times, I asked. I reached out to my mother, her friends, preacher’s wives, elder’s wives, older women of all sorts. The excuses that I received were wide and varied but, in the end, they were just that: excuses. They didn’t want to be bothered and some of them were honest enough to tell me so; others simply tried to explain away their refusal to obey God. They needed to “rest” or “play with my grandchildren” or “take time for me”; they didn’t want to have to “be involved” or “be bothered” because they were “tired” or “I have already done my duty” by “teaching Sunday school” or “being in charge of VBS for so many years” and “anyway, I am sure that you can find someone else”. Some of them, believing the lies that my mother told about me, told me that “you deserve the problems you are having because of the way you treat your dear, sweet mother”. My “dear, sweet mother” was lying about me and they were buying those lies without a moment’s consideration as to whether or not they might not be true; in the end, that, too, was simply another excuse not to obey God.
I found no one and I suffered because of it. Because others failed me, I failed my husband and my children in many ways. Because the older ladies in my life so easily explained away their lack of obedience, I struggled for years trying to figure out just what it was I was supposed to know about the life that I was seeking to live. The daughter of a deceased alcoholic dad and an overwhelmed, man-hating, modern-thinking mother (who did, at the very least, take me to church) I had no clue where to start in learning about homemaking or my duties as wife and a mother. I sometimes wonder what the older women that I went to will think about their excuses when they offer them to God on Judgment Day; more importantly, I wonder if I am guilty of offering excuses, also.
It would be so easy for me to say that I cannot find the time to teach the younger women: I am a daughter of God and I am desperately in need of my time with Him both for prayer and for study of the Word; I am the wife of a man who is out of work and needs my love and support; I am a homemaker and I cook from scratch for a large and hungry family and I must take care of both our home and our meals on a very tight budget; I am also a homeschooling mom of many seeking to balance the needs of preschoolers and grade schoolers with the needs of teenaged sons; then there is our oldest son to consider: he lives at home and needs love and a listening ear; on top of it all, I get sick easily and, if the truth be told, I never feel good. It truly is hard for me to find a minute for myself. It would be so easy for me to make excuses about why I cannot obey God and teach the younger women and most people would accept them. The trouble is, I don’t think God would. I find time for so many things; I can find time to obey God in this. No excuses are acceptable in His sight.
God didn’t tell us to teach the younger women if our lives are perfect…or if we have lots of free time…or much money…or a perfect family. He didn’t ask us if we wanted to teach them or if we thought we had enough time, talent or ability to do so. He didn’t ask us if it was convenient for us. He didn’t give us a way out. He simply gave us a mandate. We explain it away to our own peril. God allows us no ifs, ands or buts; there is no way out of obedience when He issues a command. Excuses are dangers luxuries that we must not seek. If we find it difficult to obey, we must repent and seek His guidance, for what He commands us to do, He enables us to do. When we are oriented towards God rather than to this world, His commands will not seem grievous. When we love Him more than our own lives, obedience to Him will be sweet to our souls.
God has commanded that godly older women are to be “teachers of good things”. Because of His command, we have an obligation to younger women (by age or by spiritual maturity). Few younger women today understand the importance of the role of homemaker, few fail to understand the permanence of marriage or the importance of children. Decades of attack upon the traditional role of women have left many confused and floundering. We, as older women who know God and His Word, must help them to re-orient, to sort through fact and fiction, to learn to first understand and then to embrace their role as women of God.
Sisters, we have a mandate from God and we must obey it. We must teach our younger sisters to be sober and temperate (so that they neither do too much nor too little, so that they make good use of their days and become wise), to be obedient to their husbands (and to love and respect them), to tenderly love (and value and guide) their children; we must teach them to be pure (in thought, word, deed and dress), to be keepers of their homes (to value their role as homemaker, to see their homes as their main sphere of influence, to excel in cooking, cleaning, organizing, balancing the budget, wise shopping, sewing, etc.) The most sobering thought in this whole passage of Scripture is that we are to do these things so that “the word of God be not blasphemed.” What that means is this: when we as older women fail to obey God and we do not teach the younger women to be obedient to Him (through understanding of His Word and obedience to it), we are showing contempt and disrespect for the Word of the Lord. I don’t want to be guilty of that and I don’t think that you do, either. I don’t want to have to stand before God one day and explain my disobedience or my contempt for His Word.
Older women are to teach…when we teach, we are wisely preparing the younger women to love and guide their own families so that they might raise up godly seed. We are also preparing them so that, one day, they, too, will be older women who are able to teach the younger women in their lives. Many before us failed. Let us not join their ranks. Let us take God’s mandate seriously. Let us immerse ourselves in His Word, let us bow down to pray and rise up to teach. Sisters, if we fail in this, we are failing to take God’s Word seriously. If we are not “teachers of good things” as we have been commanded to be, then somewhere there will be a flesh-and-blood sister (and her family) who will suffer needlessly because of our failure to obey our Lord…and our God will notice.