Tag 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).


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.


Beautiful Hands

Proverbs 31:10, 13

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

Mixed Memories

A long time ago my mother and grandmother (on my dad’s side) would go shopping for fabric. I will never forget those days, for they were some of the most miserable of my young life.

I was forced to endure the summer heat as they drove around town looking for sales in a ’71 Ford Maverick with no air and little ventilation. I walked beside my mom for what seemed like an eternity as they searched for patterns and fabric that would become my school clothes and their dresses. Women used to be proud to be called seamstresses, but not anymore. But there are exceptions, and my wife is one of them.

A Hard Worker

I have never met a harder worker than my wife, Valerie; she works rings around everyone, including myself. Until she became ill, she was always the first one awake and the last one asleep. She is still the last one to sit down when visitors come to eat, the last one to finish cleaning after a church social, and the only one who can handle a phone call, fold laundry, do dishes, and complete an income tax return at the same time.

On many days my wife hurts so much that no pain medication will touch it. Sometimes one day’s ordinary activity will leave her bed-ridden half of the next. Yet, she never gives up. She enjoys the duties of running a home and only complains when she can’t complete them to her own satisfaction.

Scarred, but Beautiful

When I first read 31:13 I thought of my wife’s hands…of how she loves to sew…of how she always brags on how her grandmother was an excellent seamstress, and how she always dreamed of being like her. I think of how she sewed her own wedding dress and then taught our girls to sew.  Now, because of her fibromyalgia, there are mornings I must rub her fingers before she can even move them, but it isn’t long before they “worketh willingly.”

20 years ago this June!

20 years ago this June!

The hands of a virtuous woman are not the flawless hands of a supermodel; they are scarred. They are scarred from oven burns, needle pricks, tire swing ropes. They are dry from folding laundry, wrinkled from dishwater, and paper-cut from clipping coupons. They are even bruised and sore: bruised from spanking bottoms and applauding home-runs; sore from pushing a discouraged husband out the door and up the ladder.

When I think of the hands of a Proverb 31 woman I don’t think of perfect hands, but I do think of beautiful hands. I think of Valerie’s.

Yes, I found a virtuous wife, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the rubies in the world.


Rejoicing or Hiding

Proverbs 28:12
When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.”

Most people in our world understand what this verse is saying.

There are people in Third World countries who hide from terrorists, tyrants, and warlords who steal from, maim, kill, or worse the people in their nations or allow others to do so.

We have the past century of history with the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Lenin, and Kim, who have ruled over their empires, nations, or blocs with the iron fist of communism, suppressing freedoms and dissent from the status quo.

When someone comes along who helps relieve or end the suffering of the average person, the average person wants to celebrate.

… Or in the Workplace …

When you work with a horrible boss, it becomes easier to just duck your head down and get your work done. You hide in your work to avoid confrontation. Or you quit.

When your boss is a joy to work with, you enjoy going to work.

… Or at Home …

When you have a spouse that complains about everything or is abusive, you might hide in your work, hide with your friends, or hide in a hobby.

When you have a spouse who is loving and caring, you enjoy being with your spouse.

… Or at Church …

When your church is less of a family and more of a gossip-factory or, strangely, a pep-rally of moralism or “your best life now”, you may find that you want to hide behind a smile than confess your short-comings, failures, and sins.

When your church is a family that holds you accountable to God’s Word with love and compassion, you rejoice in the freedom offered through Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness. You rejoice in the family of God.

Lord, give us strength and wisdom when we face wickedness in power, and help us to find support and strength through Your children in the Church.


The Sluggard Life

Proverbs 26:16 

“The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.”
“The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.” – NKJV
Self Perception

The idea here is that the sluggard….wait just a moment…what kind of mental image do you have this very second?

slugSluggard. Think about that word, sluggard. Not just lazy or slothful, but slimy, covered with mucous, moving slowly about the ground leaving shiny trails behind. Sluggard. A slug. A snail-like critter, but too poor for a shell.

The idea, here, is that the sluggard has a self perception problem. He is wiser in his own eyes than seven men, simply because he is the sluggard, not the ones working. The great Matthew Henry comments:

“His slothfulness is the cause of his good opinion of himself. If he would but take pains to examine himself, and compare himself with the laws of wisdom, he would have other thoughts of himself… So wretchedly besotted is he that he takes his slothfulness to be his wisdom; he thinks it is his wisdom to make much of himself, and take all the ease he can get… Of such sluggards, who are proud of that which is their shame, their is little hope.”*

Beyond Reason

So, is there hope for someone who sees laziness and living off of others as a virtue? Verse 12 says that there is more hope for a fool than one that is wise in his own eyes. How much worse, then, one wise in his own eyes that is also a bum? A sluggard?

The Fox News Channel did a story on how some people are scamming the American food stamp system (EBT). They attempted to show how assistance originally meant to aid those in real need was being taken advantage of by people refusing work. Fox News found a perfect example in a young surfer named Jason.

Jason, an unemployed surfer who mooched off of relatives and friends, determined that work was something he did not want to do. He admitted to being perfectly happy taking tax payers’ dollars each month to buy food. All he cared about was playing in a band, meeting cute girls, drinking, and most of all, surfing every day.

There was no reasoning with him. He had everything figured out.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY AND WATCH THE VIDEO

Beyond Argument

But what does the Bible have to say?

“The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.” – Proverbs 21:25

“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NIV

*Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1014.


Money for Nothing

Proverbs 26:15 

The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. (NIV)

This is the third verse in a row in which Solomon focuses on the lazy, with one more to follow. For some reason Solomon is really hammering home the point about laziness. I simply can’t imagine a person so lazy that he is unable to lift food from a dish to his mouth, but the point being made here about laziness is that it is completely unacceptable.

Right now in the UK we have a government that is trying to deal with a culture of living on benefits that appears to have become the norm for a proportion of society. If you believe the politicians and the press we have families where more than one generation has never worked in this country. While there are obviously other reasons for unemployment than laziness, the fact remains that there are folk who are quite happy to sit back and live on handouts. Some even call these handouts their wages! That is quite an insult to those who have worked and paid taxes all their lives.

My third son James graduated from University in 2009. He decided to spend a year working to save money to add to what he had already saved so that he could take a masters degree. He got an invite to live with his eldest brother and his wife, and set about looking for work. Having worked two jobs while studying for his BA he thought that this would be a simple matter. It wasn’t. Recession had kicked in and there wasn’t much work around. He refused to claim benefits and carried on searching, doing jobs around the house to compensate his brother and sister-in-law for feeding him. It took a few weeks, but James found two part-time jobs. He had to leave those jobs to return to University but managed to start another job before he completed his masters. Now that impresses the pants off me, not just because James is my son, but because he has shown what is possible despite the dire condition of the economy. I am proud of my son for not choosing the path of laziness.


The Lazy Boy

Proverbs 26:14

“As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.” (KJV).
“As a door turns back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.” (NLT). 

lazy 2

The Natural Lazy Boy:

It’s amazing today how so many in today’s culture celebrate the idea of being lazy. Today’s generation of young people with their “oh well, whatever, never-mind” dysfunction is everywhere you look. They say that there is nothing new under the sun, and it’s true. Laziness was a problem with human beings when King Solomon wrote these Proverbs nearly three thousand years ago.

In today’s Proverb, Solomon says that a lazy person turns over in his bed the same was a door turns on its hinges. There is a lesson in this! It doesn’t matter how many times the door opens or closes, it never goes anywhere. Ten years from now, it will still be in the same doorway. In the same way, a lazy person will never get anywhere in life.

It shocks me the number of young people today who have no work ethic, and no motivation or desire to do anything with their lives. I know of young people who get a job but it doesn’t last because a few days or weeks into the job they don’t feel like working, so they just don’t show up to work so they get fired, or they eventually quit. I know of a man who goes from job to job, quitting one and being fired from another, and the saddest part of this story is that his son is following in his footsteps as well.

The Spiritual Lazy Boy:

Not only are people naturally lazy – averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion – but they are also spiritually lazy as well. There is no hunger or thirst for more of God in their lives, no passion or desire to seek the Lord in prayer or Bible reading, and no motivation to excel in living lives of purity and holiness. People come to church content to sing songs and hear stories about what God did in the past, with no expectation of encountering that same God today. What will become of us as a people if we don’t change?

The Challenge: Wake Up and Work Hard!

The Bible gives us this challenge: “And where your light shines, it will expose their evil deeds. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days.” (Eph. 5:14-16, NLT).

God has called every one of us to make a difference in the world for good. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to prosper is that enough good men do nothing.” Let us be done with laziness in all of its forms – be it physical or spiritual laziness – and let us arise and let our lights shine in our world, that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven!


Working to Give

Proverbs 21:25-26

“The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.”
“Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work. Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!” – NLT

Work

As I sit here typing this “thought” for the day, my body is aching and my eyes are still blinking hard trying to bring the world into focus. Trying to make ends meet, I have been getting up early and going to bed late as I work on several different jobs and projects. Visiting, studying, making calls for work, painting cabinets, attending meetings, practicing music for a recording, and preaching have worn me out.

But if the truth be known, I would rather be tired from working than worn out from doing nothing. I would rather have a paycheck in a blistered hand than nothing in a soft, weak hand. I would rather say my bills are a little behind than say all my bills are paid by the government. I’d rather die from working than die from being lazy.

Giving

There are few things more enjoyable than to be able to give to others. The problem with the “slothful” is that he is always wanting, always greedy, always talking big and promising bigger, but never giving.

The reason the godly love to give is because they love to see others happy. As a matter of fact, Jesus says when when they give unto the least of His brothers and sisters, they give unto Him (Matt. 25:40), so giving becomes an offering of praise.

The slothful only care about themselves. They have nothing to give as a true offering, for nothing they have has any true value – they haven’t worked for it (See 2 Samuel 24:24).

Now, time to get back to work. I have some giving I’d like to do.