The Proverbs 31 woman shows us it’s a really good thing to willingly work hard at home.
It’s no doubt that the Proverbs 31 woman was industrious.
As we dig into Proverbs 31, we find that after she was described as a wife, her description focused on her hard work and resourcefulness:
“She looks for wool and flax, and works with her hands in delight.” – Proverbs 31:13
Just as a quick review of history, before the Industrial Revolution women had to work hard to create clothing. Making a trip to the mall – or even the general store – just wasn’t an option.
In the case of the Proverbs 31 woman and countless other women for thousands of years, wool was needed to spin into yarn and create warm clothing for cold weather. (Visit a living history village, fair, or festival to watch the tedious process!)
Flax, a plant, was harvested and also spun into fiber used for clothing – linen. Linen was perfect for cooler clothing worn on warm days.
The Bible tells us that the Proverbs 31 woman looked for both wool and flax – so she knew the seasonal needs of her household and made preparations.
The Amplified Version describes that “she seeks out wool and flax” – she actively sought out the natural fibers. She didn’t just happen upon them.
After she sought out the wool and flax, she didn’t leave them in the corner as puffy piles of lamb’s wool and stalks of flax. In Proverbs 31:19, she’s described as holding the distaff and spindle – both tools were used to wind wool or flax for spinning.
She worked hard to transform all of the raw materials into usable yarn and string so it could be woven into clothing or household necessities like sheets and blankets. As the Bible describes, she “works with her hands in delight” – or she “works with willing hands to develop it.”
It was hard work. There was nothing quick or particularly easy about the process. But she did it willingly. With delight.
But I Don’t Have Wool or Flax …
Today, we don’t need to search for wool or flax. And we don’t need to develop it with our hands. (Praise God!) I’m thankful for the modern convenience of ready-made clothing and textiles.
But just because I don’t have to work with my hands, does that mean that Proverbs 31:13 doesn’t apply to me?
I don’t believe we should ignore this verse because cultures and customs have changed. In fact, we can glean three important lessons from this verse:
1. Think ahead.
The cold of winter and heat of summer should never surprise us. Even if I don’t have to make my own fabric, I still can be prepared. I search for the best deals on winter and summer clothing. I stock up during end-of-the-season sales, because I know my children will need larger winter coats once winter hits or larger bathing suits in the summer.
2. Even if my hands aren’t physically creating the actual things my family uses or wears, I can still use willing hands in my homemaking.
When seasons change and I switch the decorations or throw rugs or pillows, I can do it with joy and delight – not by grumbling that I have more work to do.
I can build my home and feather my nest with gladness. I can keep a willing spirit and care for my family with joy.
3. I can work hard and stay active around my home.
Instead of just relaxing, I’m encouraged to stay active in my home. The work won’t get done on its own.
Instead of taking it easy day after day after day, I can be encouraged to work in my home. Much like Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wise woman builds her house.”
We can actively build our homes – and like the Proverbs 31 woman, we can work with willingness and delight.
Do you struggle with having a willing spirit when it comes to your homemaking? Does finding joy in your homemaking come easily? What causes the most difficulty? What comes easily?
Instead of only wondering what Christian homemakers, wives, and mothers could or should do, Proverbs 31 details it for us. The best part? The Proverbs 31 woman’s examples completely apply to life today. And they can help you manage your home.
In Hilary Bernstein’s eBook, Becoming a Modern-Day Proverbs 31 Woman, readers dig into the biblical example of Proverbs 31 woman. The instant download includes 16 insightful chapters that will help you learn how to glorify God with your life. Buy your copy now!
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