"Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
As someone who chose to "stay" at home these past 20 some years, I have often struggled with how to describe my occupation. Whenever I have had to fill out a medical form, and they have asked me to list my employment, I would write "homemaker". One time a clerk even chided me that I was still just a homemaker. I wish I had offered a clever comeback, but instead I just went back to the waiting room a bit miffed.
Now that I have returned to school, I can claim the status of student. So I occupy my time with going to campus, studying and passing my classes. Yet this description is not broad enough to label my "occupation".
I was pleasantly suprised that the definition of work in the Greek gives a broader picture regarding this controversial topic:
1. business, employment, that with which anyone is occupied
2. any product whatever, anything accomplished by hand, art, industry, mind
3. an act, deed, thing done
(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
I was relieved that anything I am occupied with is work. Even resting can be work. So whether you work both at home and outside the home, as most women do regardless of the title with which they choose to identify themselves, we can be confident that our work matters; its purpose is to honor and uphold the reputation of our Creator.
Another thing I like about the definition for work is that it includes anything we produce with our hands, including art. Art is a very broad topic and that helps me to enjoy the pursuits of writing, crafting, and creating time and space for my family and God. I leave you with the author of Ecclesiastes commentary on work:
"Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him-for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work-this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart."
Ecclesiastes 5:18-6:1 NIV