Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought is a reprint of Kate Moon’s blog originally posted on May 11, 2014. Kate continues to serve the Lord in E. Asia.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Admonitions to Older Women”
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live . . . to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Whether mother/daughter or mother-in-law/daughter-in-law, the closest of relationships between older and younger women have never been easy. Deborah Tannen has actually also written on this topic in two of her later books: I Only Say This Because I Love You, and You’re Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation. The titles say it all.
But relationships between older and younger women also have great potential to be something really special. I know of many women who are hungering for a connection with a “spiritual mother” or older sister figure, someone they can turn to for advice on family, career and relationships with friends. Why does the supply seem to fall so short of the need?
When churches are planted with college students and young adults, there aren’t many people of an older generation who are even a part of that community and therefore available to mentor. Sometimes, once women get married and start families of their own, it is hard enough for them to manage these relationships, let alone consider mentoring others in these areas. For some women, if they have never received mentorship themselves, they do not know how to go about mentoring others.
The good news is, though, they can learn. In Paul’s instructions to Titus on teaching older women, we notice the following:
1) Paul thought older women were worth investing in and training. They had an important role to fulfill in the community of the church. He tells Titus to teach them a) how they themselves needed to live, and b) how to teach others. Then, they would be equipped to carry out the important ministry of mentoring other women.
2) Areas in which the older women were to help the younger:
- Being good wives and mothers, including respecting their husbands (vv. 4-5)
- Exercising self-control (issues women can struggle with today: overeating, overspending, addiction to romantic fantasy in T.V. or novels)
- Avoiding idleness and being diligent at their work
- Being kind in their relationships with others
As this mentorship happens and women of character are raised up, people’s perceptions of and attitudes towards the word of God can change from being critical to granting respect (v. 5).
If you are an older woman, would you consider becoming a spiritual mother or older sister to someone? If you are among the men of our churches, would you consider encouraging and supporting the women in your life to become involved in such relationships?
Bible Reading for Today: John 20