What is the purpose of the home?

What is the significance of the home? What kind of place did God design it to be like? In this day and age, people invest thousands upon thousands of dollars in a home, and for what? Is it simply to provide temporary comfortable or to look good before our family and friends? Could there be more significance to the way God intends for us to live within our homes? These are questions that have been on my heart and mind lately. Without vision and purpose to our homemaking, we can loose sight of the eternal significance of this role.

As a result of these questions, I purposed to read every reference in the Bible to the words “home” or “house” or “hospitality”, and I was blown away by what I found. My perspective of the use of my home was far too small. God has such amazing potential for your home! You have a glorious opportunity to adopt these holy purposes:

1. The home as a place of rest.

My home, first and foremost, should be a place of rest from labor (1 Kings 8:66, 12:24, 13:7; Psalms 126:6), refuge (Josh. 20:6; 2 Kings 14:12; 2 Sam. 18:17; Zech 10:10), and refreshment for my husband and children. This is most common purpose indicated through the Bible. It was intended to be a place of joy (2 Chron. 7:10; Psalms 126:6), a place to make happy with your spouse (Deut. 24:5). Can my family find rest in my home? Or is there constant tension or turmoil? Is there too much clutter that the body cannot rest?

My home should be a place to welcome home my husband in celebration style. The women of old welcomed back their men in joyful celebration from the battlefield (1 Sam. 18:6). Our husbands face many battles at work throughout their day, conquering challenges, guarding against temptation, and have successfully brought home the bacon! Therefore; he deserves a joyful welcoming. Do I welcome my hubby home with a shout and joyful excitement? Does he eagerly look forward to coming home?

2. The home as a place to cultivate learning.

It should have a continual atmosphere of learning and teaching of both knowledge and Biblical truth. “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up…Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:6-9) Is truth being taught and cultivated daily in my home? Am I seeking to train and teach my children in everything we do? What kind of lessons can I teach while we clean together, prepare meals, and cultivate the home?

3. The home as a holy place.

It should be guarded from all things that might taint the holy dwelling. It is designed to be a place of protection for sinful temptation. A place where nothing abominable might dwell (Deut. 7:26). Are there any destructive influences coming into my home through books, technology, internet, or television?

4. The home as a place where thankfulness dwells.

It should be a place where we testify of the Lord’s goodness to our family, friends, and neighbors (Mark 5:19; Luke 15:6). We see the New Testament believers sharing meals, breaking bread, and celebrating together (Acts 2:46). Great generosity, sincerity, and thankfulness abounded in the home. Does an atmosphere of thankfulness pervade my home? How can I be more purposeful in cultivating a spirit of joy and gratitude in my home? Is the conversation around our dinner table one that encourages and blesses others, that acknowledges God’s work in our lives?

5. The home as a place to welcome strangers, refugees, the homeless, and hungry.

I was struck repeatedly by the numerous references to the home as a place to welcome strangers. The word ‘hospitality’ literally means: ‘welcoming strangers’. We see Lot looking around at the entrances of the city to welcome any stranger into his home (Gen. 24:23,31), and Abraham running up to strangers and welcoming them to his tent for a meal and refreshment (Gen. 19:2-3). If we feed the hungry and provide a home for the homeless, the promise is that ‘salvation will come!’ (Isaiah 58:7). So not only is the home to be a place of rest for family, but also for strangers, foreigners, and refugees.

Feasts of generous proportion should be offered amongst an atmosphere of reflecting on God’s goodness (Prov. 23:6-8; Prov. 9:1-5; Gen 26:30; 1 Tim. 6:18). As soon as Levi becomes a follower of Jesus, we see him practicing hospitality by holding a mighty feast/banquet in his home and welcoming Jesus and all his friends (Luke 5:27-31). This was not natural for him. It took effort, preparation, and generosity.

The Israelites were called to remember that they were once foreigners and aliens, and therefore to love others as they loved themselves (Lev. 19:34). Offering hospitality was a moral imperative. We all were once strangers and refugees who were graciously taken in by God (Deut. 10:19). There ought to be no loneliness in the home, but rather comfort and joy should overflow. How often do I eagerly run like Abraham to welcome others into my home? How often do I extend generous hospitality to someone new, lonely, or homeless?

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (Hebrews 13:2)

6. A place to minister to the church, missionaries and evangelists.

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13). Throughout the New Testament we see people opening their homes to missionaries to find rest and refreshment (Luke 10:38-42; Acts 16:15), as demonstrated by Martha & Mary, and Lydia.

7. The home as a place that reflects our eternal home.

Lastly, our home should always be viewed as a temporary dwelling and an image or reflection of our eternal home (Hebrew 11:14; 2 Cor. 5:1, 8-9). It should not be a place we store much treasure in. The way we offer hospitality should image the glorious celebration that will take place at the end of the age. When people come into my home, they should sense the presence of the Lord. They should sense the joy and celebration that comes from living for Jesus. It should be a taste of heaven.

Wow! The potential you have for the use of your home is incredible. Are you willing to join me in adopting this glorious purpose for cultivating the home?

If our view of our homes is shortsighted, there is no motivation to accomplish the menial tasks of maintaining it. If we don’t cultivate a high and holy design for our homes, it is easy to slip into thoughts of frustration, comparison, or purposelessness.

If we view our homes as a place of hospitality – to welcome our families and the hurting around us – there will be so much more strength and motivation to keep it clean, organized, and prepared.

I’ve heard that Edith Schaeffer, wife of the late Francis Schaeffer, led more students to Christ through her cinnamon rolls than her husband did through all his philosophical discussions.What will be said of you?

Has your vision for your home grown today?

Republished from the archives for our Top 10 Celebration. Originally published April 14, 2010.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

53 Responses to What is the purpose of the home?

  1. Rachel January 28, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Hey Lindsay – I recently started to follow your blog and I just loved this post. I actually just finished reading Edith Shaeffer’s, The Secret Art of Homemaking, which was a lovely, creative, quirky, biblical book on homemaking. And I just began the book, Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Mains, so your post came at the perfect time! I am sharing it on my little blog (and I plan to write in following posts a little bit about these two books and lessons the Lord is teaching me about homemaking.) Thank you so much, Lindsay, for the encouraging post!

  2. Ashley January 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    This is just what I needed to read today. Hospitality is something that I struggle with as an introvert, but I know sometimes I just need to make that extra effort. Now I think I have a dinner to plan for some visiting students. :)

  3. Jess January 24, 2013 at 4:02 am #

    This is such a beautifully written post. Thank you.

  4. Emily Jennings January 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    I really needed these wise words today. I’ve been growing a bit weary and losing sight of my task as the wife, mom and cultivator of our home. Thank you Lindsay!

  5. kathy January 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    this is a much needed, wonderful article. oh how i wish i read something like this as a young mother. thank you for sharing it.

  6. Roxann Chavez January 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    I would like to let you know how refreshing your posts are to me and my walk. I noticed that this post was originally from 2010 and as the bible needs to be scoured over and over, so do the lessons you share. Thank you for doing so.

  7. Abbie Long January 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Thank you for re-posting this post! This was very encouraging and just what I needed to read today. I had been having one of those days where I was having troubles feeling like I was doing anything worthy. Time and time again today the Lord has spoken to me through different things and this has been a great day! I feel refreshed after reading this post!!!

  8. Leslie July 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    I know this is an old post, but I reread it again, and it has truly inspired me. I have been very discouraged lately in my whole homelife experience, and it has renewed my passion for the home. Thank you Lindsay for this great blog that you share…..you’ll never know how much it has inspired me!!!!

  9. Stefanie May 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Wow!!! How wise you are! I am printing this out and hanging it in my house. Thank you for your encouragement to those of us who chose to give up material things to stay home and guide our children.

  10. Julie May 2, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    Love this post…thanks for reminding me to stop inundating my husband with “to-do” list when he gets home from work.

  11. sherrindrew April 25, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    Hello Lindsay, I wanted to come back to this post and share that it was an encouragement to me when we had an overnight guest recently. He was able to rest in our home for a couple of days, and it was inspiring to remember that our home is meant to be a place of rest!

  12. Suzin April 22, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    I am printing this off and sticking it on my kitchen cupboards to remind myself-in the busyness and dare I say crankiness-what the true purpose of my home is..

    thank you thank you for this…

  13. SomeGirl April 21, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    What a GREAT post! I've done searches like that on being a pastor/shepherd, but never on home and hospitality… what great truths you uncovered! Thanks for sharing them with us! Hope to meet you at Relevant in October! ♥ Michelle

  14. stacey29lincoln April 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    How lovely a reminder! Looking forward to meet you at Relevant 10! I will be following you on Twitter and checking in on you in the days ahead!

    Blessings,
    Stacey

  15. Kristi April 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    This was beautiful and refreshing. Thank you for taking the time to share it! I plan on writing down all the scripture references and studying them!

  16. kjcca April 19, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Wonderful post, I have throughly enjoyed and printed it so I could re-read as needed. I also posted a link back to you on blog about it, hope you don't mind!

  17. Shawn April 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    Fantastic message which I will use to journal and pray about. I was discouraged and hurt when my husband suggested that his work was more important than mine, so I have been struggling this week.

  18. Anna April 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    I love this selfless vision of the home. I don't keep my home clean and organized just to give me peace of mind, or even just to serve my husband and son. I do so to make it pleasant for others to be welcomed into. Thank you for the reminder.

  19. Timbrel April 19, 2010 at 4:37 am #

    I've been meditating on the command of hospitality in our home. It's difficult for me because my husband is in the military and we travel so much. Living in a place for a year at a time leaves little time for churches to trust individuals. Usually churches has a seniority list ,it seems like, to be involved in anything–adding hospitality to that is near impossible. We're relocating to Hawaii for THREE YEARS (yay! not only one year!) so hopefully it'll be different this time. I know God can use us regardless of our seemingly impossible situations, but I still have to ask God regularly to help me with my unbelief, and to be encouraged, despite our constant moves.

  20. K (Barking Babymama) April 19, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    What a wonderful post! Thank you!

  21. HappyGirl April 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Thank you for this post. It's come at a very fitting time in my life. God has certainly used you today. I spent the weekend praying over the same exact things. You have just confirmed all that God was saying to me. Thank you.

  22. Angi Dudas April 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    I shared this with a few friends. Thank you for this article and this site.

  23. Ally April 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post! I really feel like the Lord is asking me to take some real time and pray about this, because it continues to come up. I am so used to skimming when I read blogs, its so hard to focus, so I printed this post to take seriously :) God Bless

  24. Kara April 17, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    Thank you for this awesome post. I have been challenged to become more of the wife,mother, homemaker that God has designed me to be. I am working through Proverbs 31 right now and think there a few things here I may be adding to my next post…

  25. jenn April 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    This very thing has been on my mind. Wonderful post!

  26. yourhighestcalling April 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    It's so easy to become selfish within our four walls. To tend only to our own. This post is a sweet reminder of God's desire for us to show hospitality.

  27. Lori April 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    That is a WONDERFUL post. My husband and I are missionaries in Central America and living on contributions from North America we have to be really frugal. We are always looking at ways to cut down on our expenses. We laugh every time we look at our money “folder” because we know there is no way we can cut that down. We have “strangers” we are witnessing to, befriending, trying to win to the Lord over our home constantly. We have found on the mission field our best way to connect with people is through our hospitality. People love American food and go crazy over a cake, pie, or even cookies. Our theme in our house is that the new testament church went from house to house breaking bread – in constant fellowship. While they were eating natural food they were hungering and thirsting after Righteousness and they were filled. After Bible Study in our home on Thursday nights I always bake something sweet and have coffee available for everyone to fellowship and have a good time. When new people see our native ladies in my home/kitchen making themselves at home, they feel more relaxed and even want to join in and be apart of us having fun. It's amazing, even though I don't know Spanish very well yet (I'm learning!) what heart-given hospitality will do. People feel love without spoken words of a language. When I serve the coffee and dessert (and I serve them with my best “china” ie milk glass it's special to me) and do my best to communicate with our people, it's as if I had given them the world. They know I given them the best I have and they in turn love me and learn to love our God. When I was younger, the Lord called me to the mission field even before I was married (and the country he called me to is the place my husband was born, into a missionary family). I would pray and seek the face of God, asking Him, Lord let your people become my people so that YOU my God will become their God. People will not love your God if they don't first fall in love with you. I think as a wife to a missionary my calling is very sacred. I MUST be hospitable and down -to-earth for people to not only love us, but to come to the knowledge of our Lord.

  28. mammaknits April 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    This is by far one of the most inspiring and refreshing posts I've read anywhere. Thank you for your work, research and sharing! May God bless your home abundantly!

  29. MelindaG April 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    thank you so much for this post. I completly agree. That is why I believe it is so important to be constantly decluttering, both material items and schedule but also the distractions from the Lord in our homes. We are constatly looking at everything in our home, and always trying to make it into a home of the Lord.
    I just wanted to add something to your learning section. It is also so very important that you not only are setting up an environment that is education for your children but also for your husband, your self and anyone interested in what you have. So often we have loaned out books to never see them returned. We simply say, it's okay start looking for another one, and think of how you are helping others.

    Also I believe our home is a santuary to this wicked world. You need a safe haven a place to turn and find peace and love. Your husband coming home from a wicked work day, your children simply outside with a neighbor. There are so many evil spirits tempting us, everywhere… but hopefully not in our homes.

  30. Kristy April 17, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    Great post!

  31. Jessica April 17, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    How encouraging to hear this from someone who has been married for so much longer than [email protected]
    My husband and I have this same policy too. He has applied the principle to not being alone in a car with a female too and he has been a true testimony to those he works with. Due to the nature of his work (Army) there have been times when he has had to be alone with a female, but the beautiful thing is that he no longer has to try to avoid situations – everyone knows he would rather not be alone with another female and, unless otherwise unavoidable, everyone else partners him with a man for driving and training, etc. It's kind of neat how God has honored my husbands desire to not be alone with another female by giving him coworkers that respect his decision, even if they don't understand it.

  32. Sarah April 17, 2010 at 3:30 am #

    I love this post! I hope you don't mind but I would like to link this post from my blog. There are a lot of moms out there that need to step back and re-align, including myself. Thanks for the time you put into posting this!

  33. Ann Dunagan April 17, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    Lindsay, Your heart for the LORD is so beautiful! Thank you for this excellent lesson about the PURPOSE for our homes. I especially appreciate how you based the entire article is on the authority of God's word, along with your own application of each point. I'm going to be meditating on your points, and working especially on #1 and cultivating an atmosphere of REST and peace in our home. As I mentioned when we met at the Seattle Mission Fest, your fresh and youthful passion for homemaking is a sweet inspiration!!!

    A note about #5: Over the years, our family has opened our home to many “strangers”; however, these people have mostly been missionaries and recommended ministers and their families, or traveling youth mission teams. I do think it's important, especially with young children in the home (and the potential dangers in our evil society) to have certain safe-guard against having unknown strangers stay overnight, especially if our guest rooms are nearby our children's bedrooms. I think this could come under the same category as warning our daughters about picking up random hitch-hikers, or having even having family-safeguards for our children against potentially dangerously-influencing overnight kid-friends.

    My husband Jon and I have also had a marriage policy (throughout our almost-25 years – YAAAYY!!!) that neither of us will ever be alone in our home with a person of the opposite gender. At times, when hosting guests, this can be awkward. Sometimes it means that if a missionary man is staying with our family, and Jon leaves the house, this man would need to leave too (or I would need to leave). This is not only for our own safety and protection, but it helps to protect our integrity (staying away from the appearance of evil) and the integrity of our guests.

    Blessings to you . . . and to your home!!!

  34. joyintheburbs April 17, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    I really enjoyed this and bringing us back to God's Word for the answers.

  35. Kristina April 17, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    A great post! Regarding the first point, I discovered a couple of years ago that I no longer was greeting my hubby at the door with a kiss. I did that naturally when we were newlyweds, but once children came along, I got too caught up in other things. Now I make a point to drop *everything* and greet him with a kiss. It really does help us reconnect – and it makes home a wonderful place to come home to :)

  36. Tara April 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    I'm so glad you pointed out that hospitality is entertaining strangers. In a Bible class study a few years back we revealed that it's not about having our life group or friends over, but about inviting in those who need a place to find rest. People we don't know. I must say that scared me a little, and I'm still trying to find ways to do this while still maintaining safety in my home as well. Thanks for such wonderful words about home!

  37. lisa April 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    Oh.How.TRUE. My hubby and I have been married for almost 20 years and it is very true. You can never go wrong with Biblical principles.

  38. mackenzi April 16, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Thank you! Great to hear of your reflections and study. I will join you in purposing my home in this way. When I read your thoughts and intentionality in this area I feel less alone in my pursuit!

  39. ashley798 April 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    You should read The Home Experience by Devi Titus

    http://www.amazon.com/Home-Experience-Making-Sa

  40. wendy April 16, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    Wonderful! I have been really working on getting our home more in order lately, and this captures my goals so well.

  41. Emily April 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    “Hidden Art of Homemaking” is a wonderful book! It really stirred within me a desire to be more creative in my homemaking pursuits, to not just “clean and keep” our home, but to make it beautiful. Great book!

  42. Amber April 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Wow, thank you for this post today! I was just thinking about my home and the fact that I would like for it to be more restful and peaceful and pondering how I can do that for our family. Thank you for these verses. They are going into my journal so I can read them and apply them! I'm gonna post about this today and link to your blog for others to be blessed by it :)

  43. busymomof10 April 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    This was a wonderful post! so RICH! I am directing my blog readers over here today!

  44. HipposandDinosaurs April 16, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Wow. Thank you for this. I now feel the need to go back on my own and study it out. I have recently written my mission statement and it looks as though a few of these things can be added. Thank you for sharing all this with us.

  45. jrebz April 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Also, I linked to this post from my blog:
    http://www.jubbyplace.blogspot.com
    XOXO
    Joce

  46. jrebz April 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    5. The home as a place to welcome strangers, refugees, the homeless, and hungry.
    My husband and I, after being recharged from reading Crazy Love, have cleaned out our guest room and have let area churches know that we have a room for whoever has need of it. Your post has reaffirmed our 'crazy' action.
    XOXO
    Joce

  47. dreammom April 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    That was beautiful.

    I think our homes should be the place where we (and our family) flourish the most. It's the best environment for all of the reasons you listed but also the one place where we feel the absolute best, meaning when we are home, we are in our “ultimate” environment. All of our actions, from cooking to cleaning and caring for the home help us help our children to be the best they can be.

    The one thing I didn't see mentioned, is that our homes is the place where we nurture the sick. My son is in the end stages of a progressive disease and there is no substitute for the love and comfort of sleeping in our own bed or being with our family (as opposed to putting people in a home).

    Finally, you might really enjoy this book called, “Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping.” It's one of the best books I have ever read. Mrs. Dunwoody is a character she created for the book, based on her great grandmother, to give women insight to what life was like years ago coupled with advice on how to keep a home today. Back then, southern women created “receipt books” where they recorded all of their homekeeping instructions (much like our homekeeping manuals today-like your binder). She talks about them and also about the “larger issues of homekeeping-creating an environment in which all family members grow and thrive, a place where each member may evolve to the full extent our Creator intended”. I think you would enjoy this book immensely.

  48. Erin April 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Great post! Edith Schaeffer's “Hidden Art of Homemaking” really opened my eyes to what my home could be when I got married. Like a lot of girls my age, by the time I was in high school “home” was just a place to dump my cheerleading bag, do homeowrk and sleep. So sad! Now I try to make my home my husband's castle & refuge and a welcome place for friends and family – but even then, there is SO MUCH MORE it can be!

  49. countrymamma April 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Lindsay you cannot even imagine how this post spoke to me today…….it was exactly what I needed to hear. I have overwhelmed, and discouraged in my homemaking lately, and this caused me to take a step back and reevaluate how I use my home……I especially liked the one that our home is merely a temporary dwelling, a reflection of our eternal home, and shouldn't contain much earthly treasures. Wow. That really spoke to me……..

  50. Sandra April 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Thank you for this post and taking the time to research and write it – I made notes about it in my Bible journal. Beautifully written and very inspiring.

  51. Sarah M April 16, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    excellent post, as usual! My husband and I were *just* talking about this
    Sarah M

  52. Wendy (The Local Cook) April 16, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Great post! I have been convinced lately that we need to open our home more. We are currently redoing all our floors and are anxiously awaiting when things are put back together.

  53. dlspeedy April 16, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Thank you for this post. Many times I lose my focus and need to be reminded. It is easy to just get caught up in the everyday things we do to maintain our homes and lose sight of why we do what we do. I just found your website and you can believe that I will now be reading it regularly.