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She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands. – Proverbs 31:13 (ESV)
During our examination of Proverbs 31:10-31, we have already learned the basics of what a Proverbs 31 woman is and how her husband has full confidence in her. We’ve also discussed the ways that the Proverbs 31 woman brings her husband good, not harm. Today, we will explore Proverbs 31:13:
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands. – Proverbs 31:13 (ESV)
It’s not difficult to be discouraged or even overwhelmed when you read that this wife of noble character selects wool and flax (yes, she obtains raw material to sew clothes and cook meals!). In fact, she most likely didn’t buy the raw material, but rather, selected it from her own herd (wool) and fields (flax).
In today’s world, most of us don’t have herds of sheep or fields of flax to obtain raw materials from. In fact, most of us, myself included, don’t sew our own clothes or clothes for our families. To be honest, I’m not sure that I could sew a button on and have it stay secure for more than a few minutes. If you do sew your own clothes, I am duly impressed and you are amazing, but there is still a lesson for you to learn here – just bear with me a bit.
She Works With Willing Hands: Proverbs 31:13
Our culture mocks housewives. Look how common it is for people to laugh at the thought of a woman choosing to stay home and maintain her household, because they believe that she’s not doing anything important or worthwhile with her life? But what do you think God had in mind when he created women who would want such an occupation while being able to raise their children as well?
A Christian wife can be happy just knowing that whatever she decides will always serve someone else’s need without having any negative impact on herself or others!
“Now as to the mystical sense of these words; as of wool outward garments, and of flax linen and inward garments, are made; by the one may be meant external, and by the other internal, acts of religion; both are to be done, and not the one without the other: outward acts of religion are, such as hearing the word, attendance on ordinances, and all good works, which make up a conversation garment that should be kept;
and they should be done so as to be seen of men, but not for that reason: and internal acts of religion are, the fear of God, humility, faith, hope, love, and other graces, and the exercises of them, which make up the new man, to be put on as a garment; and these should go together; bodily exercise, without powerful godliness, profiteth little; and pretensions to spirituality and internal religion, without regard to the outward duties of religion, are all vain” (Gill’s Exposition).
We are called to live out our faith in all circumstances. Our life should be a testimony of the good news that we have received from Christ, and it’s important for us not to act like hypocrites because God will judge you on your character. We must also remember how easy it is for people outside of Christianity see through hypocrisy – so make sure that what you do at home matches with who Christians say they want others to believe their lives really look like!
The Bible commands us to care for our bodies and practice self-control in all areas of life. For we are to be known as a righteous people, who do not bring shame on the name of Christ through anything that may have happened outside those parameters.
Times have changed and that’s ok, but I think the key words to consider in the scripture above are “works with eager hands“. Some translations read “willing hands”, instead of eager hands. The word willing comes from the Hebrew word אָבָה chephets (pronounced kay-fets) and means pleasure, desire, delight, purpose, matter or simply willing.
As women, as wives, we have responsibilities every day. The responsibilities vary by home and marriage, but can include cooking meals, doing laundry, grocery shopping, keeping a neat and clean home, caring for children, working outside the home, time in ministry, tending to the garden, pets, or livestock, etc. Think of your responsibilities or duties each day. Are you doing them with “willing hands“? Or are you grumbling, complaining, or doing them reluctantly?
Very few women that I have worked with or talked to love to do laundry or clean, many are vocal about how much they dislike those things. We all have one or two (or more) household responsibilities that we dread.
What we need to remember, though is that God has commanded us to do everything without complaining (Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining and arguing,”). He also instructs us that in all we do, we are to do it for the glory of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV). So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.)
Everything we do needs to be done with zeal, so that God can see it and know how much we love Him. When our preacher taught us last week about the glory of God being a priority in everything you do, he commanded this: whatever you are doing, make sure your heart is into it! Our kitchen isn’t just for cooking; it’s part of who we are as Christians because He wants His presence felt there too.
If we are whining or resentful about our responsibilities (any of them!), are we glorifying God? Or are we willfully disobeying Him?
I simply cannot stand to mop floors. I can’t help it; I’ve never enjoyed that chore. It took me a long time to get to this point, but now, when I need to mop floors, I turn Pandora radio to Christian Contemporary music and get cracking.
While I mop, I talk to God and thank him for the opportunity to clean for Him and my husband. It makes a chore that I dislike much more enjoyable. It is not the mopping that has changed, it is my heart. I now mop the floors with willing hands.
A godly woman is full of joy, unselfish love, and trust in the Lord. She submits to her husband out of respect for him and because she knows that God created them both with different strengths so they would be able to work together as a team; not one dominating over the other. In other words, she works with willing hands.
She finds pleasure at serving others around her without expectations or bitterness towards those who do less than what is expected from them – if anything, it makes their service more meaningful when someone else does something nice for you unexpectedly! She works with willing hands to serve others.
We were created to work hard. God made Adam and Eve in a garden to work. Work is good for us. We are to work hard at home, as well. Our homes should be as neat and clean as possible, our children should be well-nourished and cared for, and our husband’s needs should be taken care of by his wife as she works with willing hands.
If this seems like a challenge, remind yourself that you have been given everything you need for life and godliness. His Spirit works mightily within us all!
What is one chore that you find yourself complaining about doing? How can you change your heart to perform that chore with willing hands? If you aren’t sure, spend some time in prayer asking God to reveal to you how you can have a change of heart.
How do you feel about the responsibilities you have in the home and family? Are you doing them with willing hands and an eager heart?
In the comments, let me know which chore that you struggle with doing with willing hands. I’d love to hear about it and pray for you!
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.
In His Love and Mine,