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Virtuous wife and entrepreneur
Through our study of Proverbs 31, verse by verse, we are learning quite a bit about this virtuous wife. In verse 22, we found that “She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.” Here, we learn that” She makes linen garments and sells them and supplies the merchants with sashes.” How are these verses different?
First, the use of the word linen in verse 24, is a different form that in verse 22. In verse 24, fine linen is “sindonem “or “sadin”. It represents a finished garment of high quality. In the previous verse, the fine linen denotes bed coverings and other finished goods, as well as tapestries. The high-quality garments fetch high prices and can be used for selling to increase the family coffers.
Not only is this virtuous wife an accomplished seamstress, but she is a shrewd businesswoman, too.
Let’s look deeper at her business acumen:
This virtuous wife:
1. Creates goods that are needed (and wanted) by others
2. Creates high quality goods
3. Sells her goods and products to the public or to the merchants so that they are available to those who need them
4. Earns a reasonable profit to benefit of their family (her family and their well-being are always her priority).
This example shows us clearly that being a virtuous wife is not limited to stay-at-home wives and moms. but also, those that work out of the home, as well. (or work from home). God has a plan for each of us. We all have different gifts and callings in life. We are each called to serve in different ways – at home, at church, in ministry and in our professions. Some of us are called to serve at home. Some women are called to work outside the home, perhaps to be salt and light amid sin.
Proverbs 31:24 Misinterpreted
I think that when people read this verse, they have an error in Bible translation. They believe, incorrectly, that a woman must be at home all the time being a “domestic goddess”. Even when the children are in school or have grown and moved out.
In Titus 2:5, wives are to be “working at home”, but, more importantly, I believe they are to be self-controlled, kind and ensure that the Word of God is not reviled!
In 1 Timothy 5:13-14, this is confirmed and expanded upon. In plain language, women should be busy taking care of her husband and family’s affairs so that she does not become idle and susceptible to gossip and slander.
When we are busy managing our homes, families, and jobs, we don’t have time to worry about what our neighbors are doing or to talk about them!
Perhaps the translation went awry during the Victorian era, where women lounged around and focused on who had the highest hair and most extravagant dresses.
Other cultural factors probably contributed to this, as well and have caused some Christian women to be decorative, pampered, and unproductive objects at home. God never intended this for women!
These pampered women rarely cook for their families and spend their days getting their nails done, clothes shopping and lunching with friends.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of that, as long as the family and the home are taken care of first, as Proverbs 31:24 reminds us.
The virtuous wife is, first and foremost, a diligent woman – she works hard in the home for her husband and family. Fearing the Lord (Proverbs 31:30) this godly woman applies herself physically and mentally each day. She puts her priorities in order handling her home and family duties before she hops on Facebook or other self-serving activities.
The virtuous woman is the perfect example for a Christian wife to follow. She takes on financial projects that can add income, whether it be through paid jobs or small businesses she starts. She is a good steward of the resources entrusted to her (including time and money) and fears the Lord.
I believe that the key takeaway here is that she is active in helping her family’s finances, rather than just spending money.
God Created Each of Us Unique
What I take from this is that each of us are called to something different. God prepares us and then He uses us to carry out His will. So many Christian women that I encounter feel that they cannot be the ideal biblical wife if they are not full-time homemakers. This is hogwash! While the woman described in Proverbs 31 is a full-time homemaker, she still contributes to the family finances by selling her goods.
While you may need to work outside the home (or simply want to), you can be just as effective as a virtuous wife than a full-time homemaker. Your days will look a bit different, and you may need to juggle a bit more, but you are just as valuable, just as called and have the opportunity to impact lives for Christ outside of the home.
The only caution that I see is not to take your eyes off the fact that our first ministry is in the home. Family needs should come first (after God, of course!), then other priorities can follow.
The woman of noble character is ingenious and industrious. She is intelligent and diligent. She sees business opportunities and leverages them for the benefit of the family home and bank account. She puts her domestic duties first, serving her husband and children, but has a drive and a passion to contribute in other ways.
She is an enterprising woman. While she may enjoy being a housewife and thrive at it, she strives to use her talents in other ways. In Proverbs 31:24, she creates and sells fine linens. In today’s world, she may be in direct sales, online coaching, or work outside the home. This virtuous wife is entrepreneurial and may be ambitious in her passion to serve her husband and family.
If you work outside of the home, use that as your ministry to share the gospel. If you are a full-time homemaker, how can you contribute to the family finances? Can you work a “side hustle” that doesn’t compromise your family ministry? Or perhaps, contributing, in this season of your life, is better managing the resource God has given you.
I encourage you to pray over this and see where God is leading you.
Do you think you can be a virtuous wife and work outside the home? How do you think the virtuous wife is called to serve if she works in a professional capacity?
If you want to dig deeper, check out my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Wife: A Verse-by-Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.
For more on this topic, see the post The Proverbs 31 Woman is Savvy and Skilled or, the next verse, Proverbs 31:25.
Because of Him,
ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.“