“The aged women likewise…”
I thought I would be good to give us a running start on our study by talking about what the likewise means.
Likewise simply means in the same way or the same manner, so just as the old men were charged with being sober (to stay away from wine or at least the excessive use of it), grave (honorable or venerated for character), temperate (curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate), sound in faith (solid in their belief in the Word), in charity (God’s love), in patience (a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings), so the women are to be likewise, or in the same manner.
As we read that list and think of just what it means to be all those things, it’s a long and daunting one, for sure. But I am also sure that is why God makes it clear that these things are expected of the old men and women. These are the ones who have had a lifetime to learn self-control and patience and are now charged with showing us how it’s done. We will see that that does not get us young women off the hook, but it does put a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the older women.
The hard part in the times in which we live, is that there are very few older women we can turn to. Some of us grew up with Godly mothers who modeled this for us, most did not. And for those of us who did, most of our mothers did not have Godly mothers. So we are in a sense all still learning. That doesn’t erase their responsibility; it just makes it more important for each of them to make the time needed to teach and to train us younger women to follow in God's footsteps.
This is the very reason I find it so sad that so many older women go to work once they have raised their own children. They often feel like they have served their purpose in their homes and since their children no long need them, they should start being "productive". How horribly wrong we are! Yes, their children may be fine, though I would argue that even those of us who grow up with Godly mothers still need their encouragement and wisdom at least on occasion. But what about the other young wives and mothers in the church who didn’t have Godly mothers or grandmothers to turn to growing up? Now they are caring for their own homes and children without any “motherly” guidance. This is a vital and necessary area of service that only an older woman can do with the wisdom and grace needed to help these young ones succeed as homemakers. I can give advice from my very limited experience but I can’t give the kind of lifetime scope that my mom or mother-in-law can. I can guide the young unmarried girls in pursuing a Godly use of their time, talents and energy, because I have lived those lessons, sometimes the hard way. Since I have been a wife and mother for such a little time, I can only tell other mothers what I have learned and commiserate with them, I can't train them with what I have lived. As an older woman, there is a store of knowledge that comes from experience which someone with my limited experience can’t draw from.
So I would encourage those of you who are “old women”; don’t look for ways to be young again or for worldly "productivity". Find ways to help us benefit from your experience and knowledge of the word in a practical way. We don’t need more women in the workforce, fighting for our rights and higher wages; we need you in the trenches with us, helping us to raise our sons to be strong and courageous warriors and daughters to be loving and patient mothers for the next generation. I urge you to find young wives and mothers who want Godly encouragement and mentor and disciple them in the word. And on their behalf, thank you!