By Grace Booth/Guest Columnist
The Picayune Item
Proverbs 31, verses 13 through 27 lists a series of her activities:
13-She seeks the best material and sews.
14-She brings home food and goods.
15-She rises early to cook.
16-She purchases property and plants a vineyard.
17-She grooms herself and strengthens her body.
8-She works during the night.
19-She spins thread.
20-She gives to the poor.
21-She keeps the family’s wardrobe.
22-She designs clothes for herself.
24-She makes fine material for sale.
26-She kindly speaks words of wisdom.
In comparison, how busy are we? We can identify with staying up late and getting up early, especially during parenthood. In later life as we care for aging parents, we once again sacrifice sleep for their care as they call out during the night. We can identify, too, with her world of shopping and cooking and stocking our pantries. But, our glory is not in busyness; it’s in attentiveness to our family’s needs, devoting the time required for their care.
Fast forwarding to a New Testament passage (I Timothy 5:11— 12) we find instruction for balance. We read warnings of women who are too idle, going from house to house gossiping. Today, we call it “being in everyone’s business;” perhaps it is a signal they’re not busy enough at home.
Proverbs 31: 28-31 spotlights great rewards for the right busyness as the Virtuous Woman reaps praise from her husband and children.
Her faithfulness allows her husband to focus on his occupation without the distraction of doubts, wondering what she’s doing that may financially ruin them, or worse, activities to divide the family through unfaithful acts with subsequent separation and divorce.
The virtuous woman’s impact in the home affects the outcome of her children as well. As they mature, will they emulate her godly lifestyle, perpetuating and preserving a spiritual heritage? In Proverbs 31, they recognize her good works and also praise her.
As an ideal, the woman of Proverbs 31 presents a portrait women can model today, each according to her own abilities. Some may sew; some shop carefully and economically. Some may find creative ways of reaching out to others around them. Some may be able to pursue their vocations, contributing to the family’s income while maintaining the home and keeping track of the children. The virtuous woman of the Bible worked within the restrictions of her time period and her culture. She found ways to serve, first her family, then others.
Of all the wonderful attributes she displays, her greatest is faithfulness. May we as women be found faithful in our homes, to our husbands and our children. May our children one day bless us for keeping watch, in supervising activities during their formative years, guiding them in their transitional years and prepared to give advice in their later year — (only when asked). The spirit of the virtuous woman presented in Proverbs 31 resides in the women of faith’s hearts today: a desire to demonstrate love for others, using their gifts to contribute to the world around them.
“Lord, as women, we stand in a strategic place, women of influence for good or evil in our homes, our communities and even our nation and world. Guide us with your
Holy Spirit, and cause us to be committed to our God, our husbands and families that we might justly use our time. We long to be women of faith, virtue and wisdom.”
Grace Booth, a retired teacher and published author of dozens of articles in sacred as well as secular periodicals, attended Word of Faith Bible College in New Orleans and has been a part of the Explorer’s Bible Studies, (as student and substitute teacher) for the past eight years.
Grace formed Royal Writers, a support/teaching outreach from Resurrection Life Ministries and co-directs Southern Christian Writers Guild in Mandeville, La.
Besides writing, Grace loves to garden and holds the office of president for the Garden Club of Picayune. She and her husband Doug have been married for forty-five years. They have two married daughters and three grandchildren.