You remember the Proverbs 31 Woman. She’s the lady whose resume reads like Martha Stewart on speed. For many years, the only way I could actually get out of bed in the morning was to imagine that the Proverbs 31 Woman had really big thighs — like me. That way, at least, we had something in common.
Does it sound like I had a grudge against her? Well, I did. I developed a case of Proverbs 31 envy one Mother’s Day when my children were small.
Between kids, husband, housework, church, and a job, I frantically ran to keep up. So on Mother’s Day, when I slid into my pew — late and totally exhausted — and listened to a sermon about the Proverbs 31 Woman who did absolutely everything with easy competency, my corsage — and spirits — totally wilted.
The more I listened, the more depressed I became. If the preacher would have told me that the Virtuous Woman wore a size 8, I think I would have given up on the spot. I would never measure up. Unless I dressed the kids the night before and stored them in Tupperware I couldn’t even get to church on time — let alone doing all that spinning, running a vineyard, and being noble.
Over time, I’ve learned to appreciate the Virtuous Woman and cut myself a little slack. A careful reading of the text reveals that she wasn’t doing all of those things at the same time. (Whew!) She was a woman of many interests and we being given an overview of her entire life. (Case in point: The text reads that her children arise and call her blessed. I can tell you with absolute authority that doesn’t happen until your children are fully-grown. When children are little, they arise and call you “Mommy!” not “Blessed!” When they are teenagers, you’re lucky if they’re speaking to you at all. It is only when your kids are on their own do they appreciate dear ol’ mom.)
Also, it is not the Virtuous Woman’s many accomplishments that set her apart, but it is her wise, servant/leader’s heart that makes her remarkable. She’s not worried about who gets the credit. Rather, she appraises the needs and responds wholeheartedly with the capacities and talents at her disposal.
What does a modern Virtuous Woman look like? I suspect she may not even recognize herself.
One Saturday morning, I gathered into my home the female movers and shakers from our local church. If anything happened — Bible schools, mission conferences, funeral dinners, Sunday school classes taught, a frozen turkey bought for the pastor at Christmas — these were the women who did it. These individuals kept the church doors open. These were the “Virtuous Women” of the church.
Over coffee, sweets, and chitchat, I asked them about their needs as the female leadership in the church. They were thunderstruck! They did not consider themselves to be leaders. Oh, no! Not in the least! Rather, they thought of themselves as servants. In their own humble way, they were competently doing everything church “leaders” do — teaching, sharing the Gospel, visiting the sick and elderly, planning and executing programs, budgeting, turning their pocketbooks inside out to meet the budget — only please, please, don’t call them “leaders.”
These women are not alone in their service. Or example. Like the Virtuous Woman, they are doing what needs to be done to the best of their ability — not because they are so competent or accomplished — but because they respect God.
And that is what is considered praiseworthy about the Virtuous Women: (vs. 29, 30) Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all… but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
And that’s better than wearing a size 8.
© Rebekah Montgomery 2007
Rebekah Montgomery, author/speaker/teacher, is a gifted, dynamic communicator. She is the author of more than five books and has penned 1,100 articles. She shares tough real-life topics and biblical application in a simple easy to grasp manner. To book Rebekah for your next event visit www.rebekahmontgomery.com. Rebekah is also the editor of Right to the Heart of Women and a publisher at Jubilant Press.