Proverbs 31:16 “She considereth a field, and buyeth it:
with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”
Being responsible, hardworking, entrepreneurial, and resourceful is not a simple assignment. However, the woman in Proverbs 31 is successful, powerful and independent because she chooses to be. She does not sit idly by and allow her husband to take control of the family’s fortune! Instead, she turns her own talents to raising the family up and making them prosperous, and God rewards her efforts. This verse is living proof that women have a complex role to play in the family in God’s plan for marriage, rather than simply being “housekeepers.” While there is nothing wrong with a woman staying home to raise her children, there is more to being a homemaker than just cooking! Further, this verse shows that God blesses women who prosper their families through hard work.
There are some people who believe that a “woman’s place is in the home,” but it is clear from Proverbs 31 that the virtuous woman is also a business woman. She takes on responsibility in choosing and buying the land with her own money, and she works outside the home when she plants the vineyard. She does not leave this for someone else; instead, she is resourceful and entrepreneurial in her investing and reinvesting to give her family the help they need in becoming successful financially.
The woman in Proverbs does not say to her husband, “Making the money for the family is your job. My job is to spend it.” She is not a spendthrift; there is nothing in this verse about going to the mall for the latest fashions! Instead, she helps her husband earn money because ultimately this money will support the family and, in turn, enrich her as well.
Proverbs 31 describes a woman who is able to help her family financially. Among the Parker Valley Sisters, Sondra is the first to realize that she must be successful, powerful and independent if she wants the family to stay together. However, before the series is over, both Jennifer and Claira will learn that they, too, have a role to play in making their family successful and supporting each other through trials and problems. By working hard, all of these women discover that they can help their families succeed both financially and spiritually.
Proverbs 31:15 “She riseth also while it is yet night,
and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”
One of the things you quickly notice about the woman described in Proverbs’ last chapter is that she is not a sleepy-head! She gets up early and sees that her family and her workers are fed. Her first concern is the welfare of her family. In order to have the food prepared for the family each day, she had to rise before dawn to begin the work, which she would do gladly. Proverbs 31 describes a woman willing to rise to the occasion. This same character is embodied in Sondra of the Parker Valley series by Candace Mann, and is a goal to which we should all strive.
The woman described in Proverbs 31 is not lazy. In fact, she puts everyone else’s needs before her own comfort. Instead of sleeping in because she is wealthy, she is the first one to arise and to ensure that everyone in her family and workplace has what they need. The woman described here is not a servant; she is the head of a large household that included those whose business it was to tend to her comfort. However, despite the fact that she had maids to wait on her, she was up even earlier than they were to be sure that they would have enough to eat. She treated even the lowliest person in her home with respect and tended to those people’s needs just as she did her own children’s.
This verse brings to mind some of our Christian teachers and business women. No matter how busy they are, they make time to display God’s love for family, friends and colleagues. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave, and they work hard in between. They are the embodiment of the woman described in Proverbs 31 and always rise to the occasion! Just as the Parker Valley series gives us a glimpse of what unselfish devotion to duty looks like in a Christian woman, Proverbs 31 should bring to mind those who sacrifice their own comfort, rest and relaxation to be sure that the rest of us have what we need. Thank God for Christian women who are not afraid to risk their own comfort to be sure that we are all taken care of!
Proverbs 31:14 “She is like the merchants’ ships;
she bringeth her food from afar.”
The verse in Proverbs that refers to a virtuous woman as being “like the merchants’ ships” has significant implications for women who want to emulate God’s standard for marriage and motherhood. Like a ship, these excellent women go far to secure “food” for their families. Just as the woman described in Proverbs 31, sometimes you must go to great lengths in providing for your family the things that they need. In this case, “food” may not mean actual comestibles but also the “food” of support, love and education that mothers often provide for their families.
Sondra in the Parker Valley series learns the hard way about providing for her family and the lengths to which she must go in order to keep her sisters together. Faced with the death of her parents in a tragic airplane crash, Sondra learns that no matter what she has to do, providing for the needs of her family is more important than anything else.
Does the verse in Proverbs imply that women must take on the entire burden of providing for their families? No, but it does suggest that women play a pivotal role in God’s plan for the family and how children are raised. Women provide much more than just sustenance. It was never God’s plan for women to be berated, belittled or made insignificant in the scope of a family. Rather, women were created by God to be strong, to persevere and to ultimately provide their families with the things they need to survive. Women were created to be equal partners with men in the family hierarchy.
Excellent women who epitomize the virtues of Proverbs 31 know that no journey is too difficult if it means that their families will prosper. One of the hallmarks of the virtuous woman described in Proverbs is a tenacity that is inexplicable unless you realize that this woman’s focus is on preserving and protecting her family through all tribulations. Like Sondra in the Parker Valley series, these women are incredible examples of how God has equipped us to keep our families strong!
Proverbs 31:13 “She seeketh wool, and flax,
and worketh willingly with her hands.”
While we do not work with wool and flax any more, the principle of this verse still holds true. You can always tell a worthy woman by the fact that she is industrious and helps her husband produce for the family! Proverbs 31 describes a woman who not only works but “seeks” as well. In the Parker Valley book series, Sondra is faced with this very challenge.
After the death of her parents in a plane crash, Sondra is faced with a problem: either her family is going to separate or she must find a way to keep them together. Sondra struggles with the problems of hard work versus her natural desire to get out and live the life of a young woman. She also has to address the issue of a marriage covenant and what it means to be loyal to her family.
Today’s world teaches young women that if they do the right things, they will magically be successful. If they go to college at the right school and study the right curriculum, they will suddenly find themselves with a degree that unlocks the potential for earning unlimited income. They will find a great career, get married and somehow manage children and a husband while sitting in a big office and raking in the money. Of course, none of this is actually true!
What about the woman who becomes a teacher and lives on a pittance of a salary to help children? What about the woman who wants to use her God-given artistic talents to create beautiful works that will inspire people but that few are willing to pay for? Are these women unsuccessful? Would we call them “losers”? What about the woman who gives up her corporate career and chooses to stay home and raise her children and make a home for her family?
The fact is that the woman in Proverbs 31, like Parker Valley Sondra, is successful because she works hard, not because she has some magic key to success. The Bible teaches “Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). When you work your hardest, your work is pleasing to the Lord and you are a success!