Proverbs 31– the most famous chapter in the book! The one about the perfect wife. The one who can do it all. There’s nothing she won’t try… and succeed at. Cares for her husband and family. An astute businesswoman. Respected in the community. Never a complaint.
The women reading this, including my own wife, are wondering what I’m going to say next? Fear not, the wisdom in this section of Proverbs 31 could apply to BOTH women and men. Have I straddled the fence rather well?! As I read Proverbs 31, I place myself as a man alongside this model woman.
Why not read verse 10 like this: ‘a husband of noble character who can find?’ Some of the attributes of this woman may not easily apply to a man, but much of it clearly does. I want to be a good provider, a godly example. I hope my family has lots of mercy to toss my way! I’ve wanted to work hard. To love the Lord above all, and be a witness for Him.
Let me recommend another verse. It’s Leviticus 23: 22. The entire chapter talks about the festivals the Lord wants His people to celebrate during the year. Some are weekly like the Sabbath or monthly like the new moon, but most are annual events. Describing the Feast of Weeks(Pentecost), there comes the command to harvest as much grain as you can, but leaving some around the edges for the poor. Proverbs 31 people, male and female, are active and busy in their lives. Leviticus people are generous and giving. I do notice in Leviticus that the poor need to gather their own grain, what was left for them. Not delivered to their homes as they sit around and wait to be served. No, they too must work and gather. Like the adage about giving someone a fish being less effective than teaching them to fish themselves.
Of course, some people need direct help. But in other cases, we must be cautious and discerning. I love giving mini-loans through mission organizations, where a poor woman or man will be lent money to buy a sewing machine to do mending that will provide for the money-needs of the family. In addition, they can start to pay back the loan a penny or so at a time so that others will have money that they can borrow to buy flour and open a neighborhood bakery. Not a handout, but a hand up in life. Now they can be productive like the woman in Proverbs 31. Great chapter for great followers of our great God! For men and women. Agree?
Prayer: Lord, for as long as possible, I want to be active serving you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.