Usually, when I think of this word I think of my 4 and 6 year old children. I often think that if I could just bottle up even a fraction of the energy they possess in their small bodies I could make a fortune selling it to mom’s all over the world. But it seems this woman found at the end of the book of Proverbs has found a way to tap into that energy and use it to it’s fullest potential.
Proverbs 31:13-16, 19
She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from far away. She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her female servants. She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings….. She extends her hands to the spinning staff, and her hands hold the spindle.
This woman knows her talents and knows her limitations. She knows what she can physically accomplish and she is willing to do the hard work. However, she is also aware that she can not do it all, all the time. This means she has to delegate tasks.
In our culture today we like to look at this particular passage and think to ourselves that we don’t have female servants so there is no way we could do all she does. While it is true that we don’t all have actual people in our home doing daily tasks, what we do have are appliances that have taken the place of the need for those extra hands. We have things like washing machines, dryers, electric or gas stoves, and dishwashers. All of these take the place of a person that at one point would be found completing the designated task. Rather than having to hand wash each piece of clothing we can delegate the task to our washing machine and trust that it will get the job done.
She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants.
Here we see her using her energies to provide income for her family. She is out in the community providing a service. She knows that she can put her energy toward activities outside of the home as well as doing what she needs to do for her family. She uses the materials that she constructed in the passage earlier to create a product for not only those under her roof but also for those within the community. This is an area that she is skilled in so she ensures to place her energy toward the activity.
We can do the same things. If we are skilled in an area we can use it to better our family. This may not mean being out there in the marketplace bringing in income, but that might just be what you can do. If you bake, provide a service for parties and get-togethers. If you sew, offer to hem pants and skirts, repair damaged clothing, or make alterations. If you are drawn to children, open your home to a family that needs childcare. We can use our talents if we know where to focus our energy.
She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.
She watches over her household. This points back to her delegations. She doesn’t try to do it all but she is an overseer. She is alert to the things going on around her. If she is needed she is available. She knows what is being accomplished and what still needs to be done. She jumps in and helps with tasks. She is a worker, not a shirker. She is willing to teach and train and allow some to make mistakes to learn from them.
Do you oversee the activities of your home or are you too busy doing all the things in your home? I know I am often guilty of this. I have 2 children, with one on the way. My 2 are absolutely old enough to be getting in there and helping out with the daily tasks of the home. Chores can be done by all in the home allowing me to focus my energy to the areas I need to be focusing them in and not stretching myself too thin. It is my responsibility to teach and train, just as this woman did. And even though it may appear (and often times is) easier to just do it myself to make sure it is done right, I have to be willing to step back and allow things to not be done perfectly in order for learning to take place.