Friday, May 27, 2011

Week #19 Proverbs 31:30 "The 21st Century Proverbs 31 Woman"

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

Oh yes....Proverbs 31. You all remember that chapter in the Old Testament. The biblical laundry list for "the perfect woman." The woman that all serious Christian men want (and sometimes demand) in a wife. Oh yeah...THAT Proverbs 31.

Please excuse the sarcasm here. It stems from a lifetime of disappointment and criticism.

Instead of finding encouragement in these verses, sometimes I see a standard that is impossible for me to attain. That Proverbs 31 lady is a tough act to follow. She works tirelessly to make a beautiful and nurturing home for her family. She is a shrewd businesswoman. She is charitable and compassionate. She is praised by her family for her wisdom and noble deeds. And on top of that, she's one serious seamstress.

But wait. She also seems to have a well-respected and (by inference) equally hard working husband. Her children are respectful toward her and don't appear to take all her hard work for granted. They are told specifically in these verses to praise their wife/mother.

Okay....I guess the "impossible standard" here applies to all members of the family. Life was hard back in those days. No Kitchen Aid technology, packaged foods, and 9 - 5 work days to neatly fit into their lives. Men, women and children all had to work hard, work together and work joyfully in order to thrive in that world. Making a home was much more than shopping at the mall for just the right comforter to go with that new Tempur-Pedic mattress set. It was sheer labor.

So...Proverbs 31 tells me, among other things, that being the virtuous woman/wife/mother is a labor of love. It's all about love for God and love for our families. Okay, we DO have the luxury of shopping malls and kitchen appliances today, so the 21st Century Proverbs 31 Woman doesn't have to "select wool and flax" or "make linen garments" by her own hands. We can use modern technology to help us meet our family's needs.

But we do need to do it all with love and joy. And yes, we CAN do that. That is not an impossible standard to live by. I don't do all things perfectly. My house still doesn't meet that quality outlined in Proverbs 31. But I can take my work as the LORD's work. I can see my family as part of my holy calling. I can rejoice that God gave me the privilege of such a wonderful calling.

And the best part of it all? Look at verse 30. None of this is dependent on my charm or beauty, two things that the world overly values in women. God looks at our character, our lives and our hearts when He sees us. Not our flawless complexions, flat stomachs or flirty eyelashes.

He sees us. And He loves who He sees.

Thank you, LORD.

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