Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
When I think of our “good works” I tend to think of our obedience to God, done in faith, that brings glory to God. Like Jesus says in Matthew, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) But here we read that the works of a Proverbs 31 woman bring her praise. How does that work?
Good works are themselves “conspicuous” (1 Tim 5:25). They are easily noted, especially in contrast to the world in which we live. They draw attention to themselves. In fact, it is our good works that make us beautiful (1 Tim. 2:9-10). Yes, good works ultimately point to our great God, but it is impossible to get from them to him and leave us out of the process. Our good works tell the world something about us.
But what are the works of a Proverbs 31 woman? What are all the things “that her hands have done”? As we look back through this proverb we see she cared for her husband and children. She served others and looked after the poor. She got up early and stayed up late in order to make clothes and take care of her vineyard. She had business in the marketplace, prepared herself and her household for upcoming seasons. She made sure she cultivated her relationship with God and grew in godly character and while she cared for her appearance, she was not vain. The Proverbs 31 woman ran the race that was set before her, and she ran well (Heb. 12:1). She knew exactly where God has put her, what her job was, what her calling was, and she threw herself wholeheartedly into those things.
I think many of us struggle with where God has us right now. Maybe some of you are single wishing to be married. Maybe some of you are married wishing you had children, or maybe some of you are married with children wishing they would all move out. Regardless of where you are in life can you say that you are throwing yourself wholeheartedly into the roles God has carved out for you? Are you an uncomplaining homemaker? A loving and giving wife? A selfless and joyful mother? A devoted child of God?
To not only know our calling, but to embrace it, and work it out requires us to…
Love the Lord
God can’t just be at the top of our to do list. He must be first in our hearts. We must see him as the one who gives us life, sustains our life and who has given us all the responsibilities that we carry in our lives.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your might.
Love the Word
Don’t underestimate the power of God’s word. This is what clarifies our lives and ourselves. It shows you who you are, who Christ is and what the purpose of all things are. This is what God uses to strengthen us and transform us. We need to strive to view studying his word as more than a chore. Instead we need to see it as words that we can’t live without, words that we look forward to reading, memorizing and studying.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Love the world
No, we are not to love the world as a system opposed to God and steeped in sin, but we are to love the world that God has made and the people in it, especially the people God has put in our lives. We are to care for them, reach out to them, share Christ with them and love them.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
We need to strive to glorify God in all that we do and in doing so we will run our race well and become a Proverbs 31 woman.
Looking to Jesus,