“We are to transmit character in the context of our everyday vocations, character that is inspired by the ultimate Good.”

If you aren’t personally connected to the academic calendar in some way, traffic in Los Angeles last week probably clued you in to the fact that schools are back in session. And while summer for some means increased chaos from which you’d like a vacation, others may be just returning from some kind of travel. So why should you take time out for a retreat when the fall is just kicking off? Or more specifically, why retreat with a group of only women?

While there are many good reasons to spend concentrated time together as women, I believe one specific motivator can be found in Paul’s instruction to Titus:

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
—Titus 2:3-5, emphasis added

While some may approach this passage with consternation around the phrase “working at home,” I want to consider the larger framework of Paul’s encouragement. Here, Paul provides instruction about what marks a mature Christian woman and suggests that part of maturity involves passing character down to the next generation. Keeping in mind that “old” in biblical days would have included women in their 30s and 40s, many of us at Cornerstone should hear this call directly—even if you might still feel like you are barely adulting. We need to take up the call to train women in our community groups, in our children’s and youth ministries, and in our own families. 

In Paul’s day, nearly all women would have been preparing for marriage, already married, or widowed, so he places emphasis in this passage on their productive roles within the household. But this should not limit our application of his charge to only married women and mothers. Certainly, training wives and mothers is an important part of our call today, but a lifestyle of Godliness touches all areas of modern life, no matter your work or family situation. 

And yet, what Paul is getting at here is more than just professional mentorship, whether your office is a playroom or a penthouse. He wants us to teach what is good. We are to transmit character in the context of our everyday vocations, character that is inspired by the ultimate Good. Every woman needs to learn to be reverent in behavior, not a slanderer or a slave to much wine. Every woman needs practice in self-control, purity, and kindness. Every woman needs to wrestle with appropriate submission in its various contexts. And how do we learn this? We learn from mentors, sisters, formal teachers, and friends. We read our Bibles for the framework, but our community puts flesh on the theological bones—modeling for us how to put Biblical principles into practice. We should seek to learn. And many of us should also teach.

This is why I fight through any lingering imposter syndrome to remember that the Holy Spirit lives in me. And like Paul, I pray that the Spirit’s words fill my mouth in any teaching moment—whether I am instructing my children about how to respect the boundaries of others or pointing a friend to hope like the flowers of the field. God is present when we open His Word together, no matter if the audience is one or one hundred. 

Meredith Storrs

Meredith serves Cornerstone with the Women’s Ministry and as a Global Liaison.

Additional articles that might be of interest.