Category Archives: Work

Taking Care

Proverbs 31:27

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Dutifully Looking After

As we continue our look at the virtuous, godly wife, we see that she takes care of her home.

She makes sure her family is taken care of, that the chores are taken care of, that obligations are taken care of, and everything is in order.

“[She] eateth not the bread of idleness.” She does not see the mess in the living room and think, “That can wait.” Instead, she makes sure it gets picked up. She does not see the dishes in the sink and think, “I will do that after dinner.” She knows that putting something off until later generally keeps things put off until later.

I also think that all of this means that she knows when to put aside all of the work that needs to be down around the house and have some fun and share some love with her family. The cleaning and remembering to get things done keep the house in order, but she knows her family (and friends!) need attention, too.

The Loving Bride

As the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Church, we must remember to take care of our household. This is why having at least a basic understanding of church history and theology is important.

Just as we would not allow a sexual predator near our children, we do not want bad teaching about God to take hold.

Just as we would not allow our children to run out into a busy street, we do not want bad teaching about holy living leading people astray.

We cannot allow these to last long, because once they are entrenched in church culture and understanding, they are nearly impossible to get out. For evidence of this, just look at what happened within the Church in the past couple centuries to see all of the division and disagreement.

Heavenly Father, give us wisdom and endurance to care for each of our households. Help us keep our family strong and safe and Your Church strong and holy.

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Fine Linen

Proverbs 31:24

“She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.”

Here, in this description of a virtuous, priceless woman, we see further proof that a woman is not limited to domestic work. Although she takes care of her household, she is industrious and business-minded. She makes a product she’s proud of and not afraid to stake her family’s reputation.

Notice here, too, that she is not only a hard worker, but she knows how to make use of her time. Instead of working for every dollar (or whatever currency she uses), she lets her money work for her. Instead of setting up a stand beside the road to sell her wares, she makes her product available to be sold by a merchant.

Personally, I believe there is a little bit of cleverness in the last part of this verse. She makes a product and sells it, but she “delivereth girdles unto the merchant.” It could be that she is just making a delivery, but it might be possible that she is greasing the skids of business. She gives the merchant something special for selling her product.

A wise woman, good in business and full of virtue, is obviously going to be one that is concerned with quality and the way others in the market are treated. By following her example, men and women alike would earn a better reputation and further the cause of the faith (see 1 Timothy 3:7).


Just Keep Spinning

Proverbs 31:10, 19 

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.”

Spindle and Distaff

The first question that we could ask is: “What in the world is a spindle and a distaff, and what would a woman be doing with them?” Seriously, how many people on the street could tell you what a spindle and a distaff are? One out of a hundred?

Susa woman spinning yarn

Susa woman spinning yarn

Actually, a spindle and distaff are ancient tools used in the making of yarn, or thread. Women back then, and today, spun material such as wool, flax, and goat’s hair to make the yarn and thread to weave into clothing. Spinning takes a lot of skill and coordination, too, which is rather amazing to watch.

Then and Now

The second question we could ask is: “How can we relate the idea of a good woman with her spinning tools to today?” In other words, if you’re gonna be looking for a Proverbs 31 woman in metropolitan Big City, USA, what is the equivalent of laying her hands to the spindle and distaff?

Find a woman that loves the work that she does, one who does it with grace and dexterity, even beauty. Find a woman that creates something useful and is not afraid of getting her hands dirty. Find a woman who is patient, purposeful, and productive with the talents God has given her.

Find a woman like that, and like the old folks would say, “You’ve got a keeper!”


Work-Loving Mother

Proverbs 31:10, 18

“Who can find a virtuous woman? … She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.”

Don’t Miss Out

People who refuse to work miss out on the joy of being able to step back, admire a job well done, and know that what they have done has contributed to the welfare of their household. They miss out on the satisfaction one feels when as he admires the completed work of his hands. But the “virtuous woman” can see that what she has done is good, and it brings her great pleasure.

How is it that work can be pleasurable? Well, in the case of the woman of Proverbs 31, she knows what she has to work with is good; she is confident in her ability to make a product and close a deal; and she knows that when the day is done her family will benefit. Most importantly, her heart is in the right place, which adds to her level of energy.

Have you ever met a person who loved her work? Even when other people call it a day, he or she is still at it, even until the late hours of the night. That’s probably the reason the “virtuous woman” of this chapter keeps her candle lit long after the sun goes down.

A Rare Worker

A rare woman, especially these days, is one who is creative, an entrepreneur, and loves working for profit. It is even more rare to find one who obviously has a well-respected husband – a man who already provides for her – and yet still decides to contribute financially. A common woman would sit back and rest in the comfort provided, but not this woman. No, she finds joy in work, and that’s why she keeps it up past normal working hours.

Now, some one argue that a woman who does all this is taking away from her family. They would say that a woman should not work outside the home, but should keep the house and take care of the children while the husband earns a living. But what is so great about this woman is that she is able to honor her husband, take care of the house and all its needs, and still find time to create an extra stream of income from being creative with her God-given talents and abilities. She loves to work, but still knows how to put first things first. That’s what makes her exceedingly rare.

How much better off would our societies be if we had more women – even men – like this?


Ready and Willing

Proverbs 31:17

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. (KJV)
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. (NIV)

Not Lazy and Ready

As we continue looking at the noble wife (or any woman, really), we see that she is not lazy.

She girdeth her loins with strength …” or “She sets about her work vigorously …I”
She prepares herself for what she must do each day, and she does not wait to get started.

… and strengtheneth her arms” or “her arms are strong for her tasks.
She can do what she needs to do because she has prepared herself. She is ready for surprises because she can handle them.

It takes a level of excitement and a lot of love to prepare yourself and take care of your family and friends. This is the crux of the matter.

Ready and Willing

Jesus prepared the way for His Bride to succeed, as well. Through His ministry, death, and resurrection, Jesus set the stage for the Church with love and a level of excitement.

As the Church, we must make sure we are prepared and strong. This takes regular time reading the Bible, in prayer, and talking with our brothers and sisters in Christ. This opens our hearts and minds to the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ in us, to fulfill our tasks and be ready for anything.

May our love for Christ compel us to be prepared and strong. Then we are better prepared for and stronger in our other relationships, including as husband and wife.

Great Lord and Loving Friend, thank You for preparing and strengthening us. Help us to trust in Your wisdom and strength, and may we continually seek more strength and wisdom.


A Long, Consistent Reign

Proverbs 29:14

“The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.”

The Base

One thing that strikes me about this proverb is the dependency of the king’s throne on the welfare of the poor people. Nothing about the rich or the famous is said in this verse. Nothing is said about politicians, big donors, entertainers, generals, media moguls, advocacy groups, or businesses, either. For that matter, nothing is even said about other members of the royal family, just the poor.

The poor, in this case, could be considered the king’s base, i.e., his grass-roots supporters. They are the bulk of his kingdom. They are the ones that, if they ceased to exist, would leave the king without a kingdom to rule. He would be wise to treat them justly.

Consistency

Another thing that catches my attention is the importance of “faithfully” judging the poor. The king will always be needed to rule on matters of state. He will also have to deal with controversy on a daily basis, making judgments that will affect everyone in his kingdom in some way or another. But one of the keys to establishing a long-lasting throne is the king’s ability to be consistent.

I have heard it said of leaders many times; I have even said this very thing myself of leaders ranging from pastors to presidents: “I may not agree with him on everything, but at least I know what he believes.” There are leaders with whom I have some differences,  but it is a lot easier to work with them than with others who are inconsistent, changing their beliefs with every shift of the wind.

Established

Throne Charles III of Spain

Throne Charles III of Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want to have an established kingdom? You may not be a king in the literal sense, but are you “king” of your home? Your office? Your club? Do you have those over which you rule, make a judgment, or have to enact policy which will affect their lives? The key to a long-lasting, well-loved, “established” position is the consistent, non-partial, and just use of one’s authority.

Don’t be persuaded to act in the self-interests of a select few who would hold the purse strings. Where the king fails in his duty, the Righteous King will one day avenge.

“And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” – Isaiah 11:3-4 KJV

Even so, come Lord Jesus!


Down on the Farm

Proverbs 27:23-27 

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Tibhall cowsVery good friends of mine have a family farm. Over the years they have had to diversify in response to changes in farming. The dairy went a while back, but they still raise cattle for other people. There are several holiday lodges now on part of their land. While the father continues to run the farm, ably supported by his wife, their daughter lives next door, and she and her husband have invested in a high-tech egg business involving far too many chickens to count. The son and his wife live in an annex to the main farmhouse, and they are also involved in the farm, although the son’s wife also works full time as a nurse. I haven’t done the family justice in these few words, but the point is that the hard work and diligence of each generation on this particular farm has, in the words of Proverbs 27:24, meant that the ‘crown has endured (to date) to every generation.

If you managed to find this farm, which is accessed via narrow country lanes, you would see nothing unusual. There is a collection of buildings with the houses on one side of the road, and the farm buildings on the other. There may be a tractor and other farm machinery parked up. It looks every bit the working farm that it is!

TibhallWhat you would not see when you drive past the farm is the hearts of the people who live and work there. It is much more than the farm that is passing down through the generations. John and Jean, my friends, have been faithful in many ways. In addition to contributing to the life and work of the Baptist church in the nearest town, they have also been faithful supporters of the local Methodist circuit, with special involvement in the nearest small chapel. Their son David attended Baptist College and trained for full time ministry. Although David still works on the farm, he is also an agricultural chaplain serving others in the farming community. I know a little of what David does and it blesses me greatly to see this young man investing not only in the family farm through his labor, but also in the lives of others in an industry that is struggling for many reasons.

Investing in the lives of others is what Jesus did during three years of ministry. Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd, and gave examples through His teaching of the way that He loves and cares for His flock. This is an example we need to follow. It is also an example we must show not just to our children and our grandchildren, but to our neighbors and colleagues, and to anyone who may cross the path that God has set us on. David the farmer’s son is sowing different seed as a chaplain. But if you think about it, Jesus calls us all to be chaplains.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)