Top 10 Takeaways from Proverbs 31 PART 1
Top 10 Takeaways from Proverbs 31 (a.k.a. 10 traits of a Virtuous Woman) PART 1
I know, Proverbs 31 is used a lot. And I know, I use this passage a lot. But I love it and it seems like every time I read it, something new jumps out at me. Let me tell you why I love Proverbs 31 so much. I love Proverbs 31 and the passage of the Virtuous Woman because where else in the Bible are you going to see such a clear cut snapshot of what our life should look like? Yes, we love the fruits of the spirit. We love the list telling us to be kind, to be patient, to be joyful, etc. But how cool is it that we were given an example, listed out, of all the ways we can be more virtuous and nearer to God?
I love that this example of "a virtuous woman" and what she encompasses isn't just, "she is joyful, she is patient, she should never get angry". Because I don't know about you all, but that seems awfully hard to live up to 24/7 and doesn't seem like a real person. I'm real and I make mistakes. And it's hard for me to commit to being joyful all the time or patient all the time, and that's just the truth because I'm human. But when I read about the example of what a woman with virtue is, I don't just read about a boring, quiet woman who cleaned her house and had oceans of patience. I read about a woman who is strong, who is a hard worker, and who is revered. That is the example of what we should strive to be. Yes, we should be kind, patient, and gentle. But we can also be a force and have purpose. Let me tell you my top 10 favorite "traits" or takeaways of Proverbs 31, about a Virtuous Woman. Well, 5 traits because this is part 1 of 2 parts because there is too much in this passage to cover in just one blog post!
1. She is Valuable
Wow. The passage just shoots off stating that a noble woman is worth more than rubies. She is valuable, she is priceless. This isn't even something that we have to do ladies. The Bible tells us we are valued, God tells us who we are, that he has created each and every one of us and that we are priceless. This is so cool to me because it's not a conditional thing. It's not: she has these 15 qualities, therefore she is of noble character, and therefore she is valuable. We are valuable because we were created by and for Him and cannot lose that value. But if we also act in ways that honor Him and show virtue? Those qualities are worth more than precious jewels.
2. She Hustles
That's right, the virtuous woman is a hard worker. And not just in the home, either. The passage says in verse 13 that she willingly works with her hands. She isn't afraid to put in the time or effort to yield the profits of her labor. She isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty. Proverbs also says in verse 15 that she rises while it is still night. She is out before the sun rises about her business! And in verse 16 we see that she plants a vineyard. This isn't easy work this woman is doing. Yet she goes, every day, to put in the hard work and provide for herself and for her family.
3. She does not settle
This is probably my single favorite part of Proverbs 31. A woman of virtue doesn't just settle for what comes along or what is easy. She seeks out what is best. This is so applicable in so many different ways. Whether it is a job, someone we are dating, or even what fast food we decide to get, find out what is best and consciously pursue that. Make active decisions in your life. Verse 14 says "She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar." Could she have gotten food from closer to where she lived? We don't know for sure, but can assume so. But she puts in the effort to go out of her way to only bring the best back to her family. Don't date someone because you think you will not find better. Don't stop at McDonald's because it's only 5 minutes away when you wanted Chik-Fil-A. You better drive that extra 10 minutes and get that Chicken Sandwich. As silly as that is, you get the picture. Know your worth. Know what you want. Put in the extra time and effort and be an active participant in making your life better.
4. She is not lazy/wasteful
This kind of builds off the last trait, but we see over and over again that a virtuous woman makes good use of her time. Like I said above, verse 15 says she rises while it is still night. She is valuable and therefore her time is valuable and is not something to be wasted. And she isn't lazy. I don't mean she doesn't lay around the house she's not lazy. I mean that she works hard and she does things right. She uses her energy for the right things and does them well. These things that she works hard at are successful because she gives it her all. Verse 18 states that she perceives that her merchandise is good. She plants a vineyard, she does it fully and does it well and she perceives that it is good. A virtuous woman does things fully and sees them through. She uses her time wisely, doing the right things. She works hard and is not lazy for things that matter and reaps success.
5. She is a provider
We don't often think of a woman in biblical times as being a provider. Legislatively, women had relatively few rights compared to men during this time. So how cool is it that the ancient text of the Bible we were given depicts that the image of the ideal woman is one that works and provides for her family? I love that so much. Because God says I created you. I created you to work and to have a purpose. Proverbs 31 tells us in verse 15 how the virtuous woman provides food for her household as well as her maidservants. She goes above and beyond, providing well not only for her family, but for her servants even. That's another huge nod to the virtuous woman not being lazy, like HELLO. She doesn't need to be waited on, she brings food to HER servants! Anyways, back to my point. In verse 21, we see that she is not afraid of snow for her household because her family is clothes with scarlet. She has already provided for them. She has no concern for the snow. She supports and gives provision in so many forms. Not only does she provide in the home for her family, she works hard and does good business to provide for her family financially. Providing for a family isn't exclusive to being the financial provider, but I love that we get that example here that the virtuous woman did help provide financially for her family. I find so much freedom and empowerment in this passage. The virtuous woman in this passage doesn't just provide for her household and servants, we know that she provides for her husband. I'm not talking about food or money here, I am talking about providing a safe place so that her husband can trust her. The passage starts out stating that the heart of her husband trusts in her and that she does him good. It's not always easy to be a soft place to land. We often have so much going on, we are stressed out, we are tired, and we forget to provide for our partner. This isn't some big showy act the virtuous woman is providing to her spouse. She is even keel and trustworthy and provides a place of rest, comfort, and shelter for her husband. In verse 23 we see that her husband sits among the elders of the land. He is respected and in a position of authority. The virtuous woman's noble character, excellent work, and ability to steadily provide her husband with what he needs has enabled him to excel in his career and gain success and respect.