We don’t usually associate domestic life with “work.” In fact, we often think of home and work as opposites. We talk about women as being either “stay-at-home” or “working” moms. And when a CEO retires, he may spend his time investing in the community or caring for his grandchildren, but make no mistake, he is no longer “working.” For most of us, the home isn’t a place of productivity. But is this what God intends?
The first biblical reference to the home occurs in Genesis immediately after the creation of man and woman. (See Gen. 1.) The phrase “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:22) refers to the human ability to produce children. Yet this phrase—one we associate with domestic life—is tied to another that’s equally significant: “Rule over” (Gen. 1:28). In God’s economy, cultivating the world and cultivating our homes are not separate callings. They’re intimately connected.
In this sense, “work” cannot be limited to an office, classroom, or construction site. It happens everywhere and anytime we do what God has called us to do, whether that means folding laundry or overseeing a corporate merger. This also means that every one of us is called to work because—whether male or female, old or young—we are all made in God’s image.
So how does this affect our understanding of the home? It means we can no longer think of it as primarily a place of rest but should regard it as a place of stewardship and productivity.
In the past, this connection was clearer. The blacksmith’s shop sat next to his home, the merchant lived above his store, and the farmer cultivated land around the house he’d built. And with each generation, parents passed down their skills to their children. But as jobs moved to factories and offices, we lost this holistic vision. Today, as more of us “work from home,” we can begin to think differently about what is happening there.
I’m not suggesting that every family is called to start a business or that we need to make the dining table into a desk. I am suggesting we recognize and honor the work already happening in domestic spaces. And what’s happening is the development and cultivation of image bearers who are called to work as God does.
Yes, every day the Lord is working in and through us. But when all is said and done, the old saying proves true: There’s just no place like home.
Illustration by Ryo Takemasa