Today’s reading: Proverbs 30-31.
First the bad news. Yes, women, there is a checklist in Proverbs 31 with which you can compare yourself. Now the good news. You can draw areas from the list where you want to excel, rather than feeling like you have to accomplish everything on the list.
I think there’s more good news for women in this chapter about the “Noble Wife.” Look at these two items at the end of the chapter:
- A woman doesn’t need to compete or excel in terms of physical beauty. Outward appearance is of little value in comparison to the eternal significance of a heart that is right with God.
- A woman can compete for rewards and excel in recognition among her peers, both male and female. Proverbs emphasizes, however, that this recognition will be most meaningful when it comes from accomplishing the tasks outlined in Proverbs 31.
So on to the checklist. Again, these are examples of all the areas where women in the time of Proverbs could excel. Farming was more important for each family then, but the importance of helping provide for the family remains. I don’t believe each woman should feel that she has to accomplish every one of these tasks. Perhaps some of them will be more important in one stage of life than another.
- Gathering food for the family; serving food to the family
- Buying and selling land
- Farming (what might substitute for this in our more urban culture?)
- Making products and selling them; trading in goods for profit
- Caring for the poor
- Overseeing the household, providing for their security and comfort, bringing good to the family members
- Instructing others with wise words
That’s a list of actions, but perhaps the more important list is a description of the woman’s character.
- She’s trustworthy
- Strong and vigorous
- Confident, unafraid
In contrast to worldly stereotypes that restrict the attributes of women and limit their opportunities, I think these are very liberating lists. God values women much more than the world usually does.
Image by Mike Rastiello on Flickr, CC by-nc 2.0