While listening to a radio program last week, I heard someone share his view of success. He spoke of writing a couple of bestsellers and how he began to view reaching that mark as making him successful in life. However, after experiencing a potentially life-ending situation, he redefined success and stated it this way:
The Virtuous Woman is Satisfied.
By satisfied, I don’t mean that she is not still seeking to learn and grow both personally and spiritually. However, I think because her priorities are in order and she focuses her time and talents on the things that profit her family, she is content in the knowledge that she is fulfilling the purpose that God has for her.
While the benefits of her prayers, actions and attitudes may not appear at this moment, what she does for her husband, children and others in her sphere of influence counts for eternity. She is not searching for fulfillment outside of her calling; rather, her place in the home brings her gratification.
Thank you for joining me as we’ve traced the virtues of this woman described for us in Proverbs 31. Let us follow in her footsteps today as we love our husbands, train our children and reach out to others, for the satisfaction we reap from our efforts will reward us immeasurably in the days to come.
We should be completing our series on the Proverbs 31 woman today; however, in reviewing these posts a few weeks ago, I discovered that I’d totally skipped verse 20! I’m not sure how I missed this one, but we’re going to highlight it today – just a little bit out of order! Next Monday we’ll end our series with verse 31.
I think we once again glimpse the heart of this woman in verse 20: “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”
The Virtuous Woman is Generous.
Her spirit is not one of stinginess or selfishness, but one that cheerfully gives to others, expecting nothing in return. The words “stretcheth” and “reacheth” are used here, which reminds us that being generous is not always easy; it sometimes requires self-sacrifice and the postponement of satisfying one’s own desires.
Notice that the verse does not say what she gave materially, although she would certainly have sought to meet people’s physical needs. Rather, the focus is on her hands and her willingness to help the poor. She didn’t wait for those in need to find her, but reached out to them.
Knowing all that she accomplished for her family, this lady still made it a priority to notice those around her who were impoverished. Perhaps some required a gift of her time, her sitting down and talking to one who was lonely, maybe shut-in or bedridden. Maybe it was a word of encouragement, either verbally or in writing, to a discouraged soul. Preparing a meal, sharing warm clothing, and giving financially would all have been done with her hands as acts of generosity.
My husband and I want our children to learn to be sensitive to the needs of others and, as it is in their power, help in a way that is fitting. Therefore, we need to set the example by being liberal in sharing with others and in giving of our time, possessions and finances in order to aid someone who is struggling.
What do you find to be the best way to show your generosity to others?
If you’ve been searching for the secret behind the Proverbs 31 woman, it is plainly revealed to us in the thirtieth verse. “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”
The Virtuous Woman is Godly.
This woman can accomplish all that she does because of her relationship with God. The traits that she demonstrates outwardly come from her inward spiritual walk. She knows that apart from God, she cannot be pure, diligent, self-controlled or any of the other characteristics that we have seen.
This verse tells us that she “fears” the Lord. She knows Him and therefore has a reverential awe of who He is and recognizes how much she needs Him each and every day of her life.
While many women may receive approval from their peers for their accomplishments, that can be misleading since others can only see outward actions and don’t know the motives of their heart. A woman may be admired for her attractive features, but they are not of lasting value. Physical beauty and the esteem of others does not help when your child lies ill or your finances are in ruin. But the virtuous woman knows that all she needs – spiritually, physically, emotionally – can be found in Christ. Ultimately, this verse says, she will be honored.
This week, I want to make my relationship with Christ a priority every day by spending time in His Word and in prayer, that I might know Him more and show reverence for Him in each area of my life.
While I don’t expect that I’ll be quite as ambitious as the year progresses, I am excited to have already finished my first book on my 2011 reading list! R.A. Torrey’s How to Pray was a short but powerful read.
Although I’ve been a Christian for many years, I long to have a prayer life like so many of the saints of old. Torrey shared some principles that encouraged me in this area.
As my husband and I do, we have taught our daughters to end their prayers in Jesus’ name. I think that this often becomes a habit and is done without understanding its significance. I appreciated this reminder on what it means to pray in the name of Christ.
“It is like going to the bank of Heaven when I go to God in prayer. I have nothing deposited there….if I go in my own name I will get absolutely nothing; but Jesus Christ has unlimited credit in Heaven, and He has granted to me the privilege of going to the bank with His name on my checks; and when I thus go, my prayers will be honored to any extent.”
However, I think the greatest thought I took away from Torrey’s book was this: “The true purpose in prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer.” If I am praying for something with selfish purposes or false motives, it is highly likely that my prayer will not be answered. In every request I make, my main desire should be that – no matter how God chooses to answer – He will be glorified.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse that relates to prayer? Have you read a book on prayer that encouraged you or strengthened your prayer life?
As we near the end of Proverbs 31, we begin to see some of the rewards that come to the virtuous woman. Verse twenty-eight tells us the following: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
The Virtuous Woman is Honored.
Having studied all that this lady does for her family, it is surely gratifying to know that they recognize her character and dedication. What more reward could a woman want than that her family be blessed by what she does! As a wife and mother, our greatest ministry is to those who share our home and to be successful there will ultimately bring us joy and satisfaction.
While I doubt that your two-year-old (or your thirteen-year-old!) will sing your praises on a daily basis, we can certainly hope that when she’s grown, she will recognize the investment you have made in her life. As a mom, my goal is that my daughters will be able to look back and thank God for me and for the influence I’ve had in their lives. As a wife, I want to minister to my husband by meeting his needs and submitting to his leadership.
Today may I live in such a way that my husband and children can easily and honestly find something in my conduct to praise.
photo courtesy public domain pictures
Verse twenty-seven says, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”
The Virtuous Woman is Vigilant.
The lady we are learning about observes what is taking place within her family. She is attentive to their needs, be they physical, emotional or spiritual. She is watchful, guarding the hearts and minds of those she loves by monitoring the ideas and influences she allows into her home.
From previous verses, we know that the virtuous woman could certainly not be accused of being lazy. She does not avoid work and, on another level, she doesn’t allow herself to be involved in pursuits that are of no significance. Her time is not spent on activities that have no real value.
So, on this first Monday of 2011, I am encouraged to keep my eyes open to what my husband and children are doing, my ears listening to the words they are saying as well as the thoughts they are expressing, and my heart attuned to their attitudes and desires. May I avoid wasting time and instead involve myself in activities that will help me be all that I should be for Christ.
photo courtesy public domain pictures
In spite of all that I have learned from the Proverbs 31 woman in our series thus far, verse 26 delivers one of her most impressive qualities: “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
The Virtuous Woman is Self-Controlled.
If this were the only verse in Proverbs 31, I could still read it every day and be convicted. In his well-known passage about the tongue in the New Testament, James says in chapter three, verse two, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” The virtuous woman exercises self-control by using discretion in her speech and tempering her words with consideration for others.
The Virtuous Woman is Enterprising.
Enterprising is defined as showing initiative and willingness to undertake new projects. The lady described here is using a skill she has developed to help her family in a financial way. She is creative and has at least a degree of business-savvy as she works with the merchant to deliver her product.
This is an area in which I would certainly like to improve. One of my prayers is that the Lord would help me find an opportunity to earn some extra income. Have you found a way to creatively market a talent or skill that you have?
The second area in which I find myself challenged in this verse is in realizing what a time manager she must have been to accomplish all of these tasks! I am confident that her care of her husband and children didn’t suffer because she was making the linen to sell. One of my goals for the new year is to become better at allocating my time according to my priorities. Crystal at Money Saving Mom has been sharing a helpful series on this topic and I’d enjoy hearing any tips you have as well!
photo courtesy public domain pictures