Proverbs 31:13

What does your task list look like today?  Is it a reoccurring project list of daily tasks with additions of a little of this and a little of that?

Today I face the normal list of household cleaning & maintenance chores.  Plus, I’ve got rhubarb and kohlrabi that were picked this morning that need to be cleaned.  I’ve got a whole bowl of fresh raspberries that I need to get creative with.

That’s just the little stuff.  Then there’s the biggest, most challenging, ever trying and sweetest roles I have; mother and wife.  Loving them.  Serving them.  Sacrificially giving to them.  I’m sure glad that I’m not walking through this alone.  How would I do it all without God?  Oh how I need Him!

“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands”  Proverbs 31:13 NIV

“She finds wool and flax and busily spins it” Proverbs 31:13 NLT

“She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing”  Proverbs 31:13 Message

Wool, that’s the stuff that sweaters are made of, right?  Flax is what you put in your food to make it healthier and lower cholesterol, I think.  Yes, it’s abundantly clear that wool and flax are not materials I work with.  Finding it, selecting it, nope not me.

Call it cotton and yarns and I suppose I’m a bit more familiar.  There’s cotton in the t-shirts by husband and son live in.  That much I know.  Enjoys knitting and sewing.  I think I may have tried it once for a school project or in girl scouts.

Ok, at this point I’m feeling so far from a Proverbs 31 woman.  Perhaps this is the point where we start to wonder if Proverbs 31 is about all kinds of women.  This verse doesn’t seem to apply to me.  How about you? It would be so much easier to quit, rather than to push through and dig in.  Again, I’m reminded to “get started, don’t quit”.

Let me share what I have discovered about these materials.  Flax and wool were both used to produce fabrics that were turned into garments and clothing.  Apparently, flax was so versatile that it could be made into a rough canvas for sails on ships or when diligently refined could even be made into fine scarves.

Imagine with me the time and effort that must have gone into making clothing for the family if you had to go through the entire process.  I think it’s frustrating when my kids come home with holes in the knees of their jeans.  I put so much less effort and time into their clothing.  Imagine what a woman in Biblical times experienced, the cost she put into it.  That is a humbling thought.

The verse continues telling us that our Proverbs 31 woman works eagerly.  Webster defines eager as having enthusiastic desire.  She was excited to do it.  Given how much time and effort went into her work, I would imagine working on clothing was probably a daily chore.  How many of our daily tasks around the house are we eager, enthusiastic or excited to do?

Honestly, I’ve probably spent more time groaning about the things I have to do again and again and again.  I know in my heart that God doesn’t want me complaining about the little tasks that I do over and over.  Jesus was a humble servant who gave the best of himself in the smallest things.  God’s Word tells us this.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

“Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.  They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”  Ecclesiastes 5:19-20

“And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

God even gave us a great example of this.  In Acts 9:36-42 there’s a story about Peter and Tabitha (also known as Dorcas, her Greek name).  Here’s how this story gets used a lot.  Tabitha dies.  Someone fetches Peter.  Peter clears everyone out, prays and tells Tabitha to open her eyes.  Tabitha gets up.  What an amazing miracle!  What a testament to Christ’s power!

Now like Paul Harvey used to say, here’s “the rest of the story”.  Tabitha was a seamstress in Joppa.  She dedicated her life to the process of making clothing.  Because of all the time, energy, talent and effort to go into this process clothing was expensive.  That’s why we read over and over again about precious robes and coats in the Bible.  They were valuable.

When Peter arrives he is taken the upper room where Tabitha’s body is.  In verse 39 we read, “All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Tabitha had made while she was still with them.”  Time out here.  Widows were some of the lowest of the low in society.  It is the least of these that are appealing to Peter for a miracle.

What do they show him as proof that Tabitha is deserving of a miracle?  They show him robes and clothing that Tabitha had made them, evidence of her generosity.  Tabitha worked all day at her job and then gave of herself through her gifts and talents to provide for those in need.  In Acts 9:26 she is referred to as a disciple who was always doing good and helping the poor.  God sees the little things she does and commemorates her for all of history by telling her story in HIS WORD.

God + me = Proverbs 31 I shall be

Tabitha was truly a proverbs 31 woman.  She couldn’t do it without God.  Neither can we.  God wants us to put our hearts into the little and highly repetitive things that we do.  Picking up toys, do it as unto the LORD.  Another load of laundry, do it eagerly.  More dishes to wash and meals to make, find gladness in heart for we are serving the LORD.

Isn’t it so encouraging to know that God notices.  My dear, precious, lovely, beloved friend, God see us.  He knows and takes note of all the little things.  God sees how we do them.  Even when those closest do not see, God does.

“Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever” Psalm 23:6.  Notice it doesn’t say, only the days I am in church, just the days I am at a spiritual retreat, or merely the days I’m at a christian conference.  It says ALL the days of my life.  The days we’re covered in sticky hand prints, dirty floors, piles of laundry, stacks of paperwork, lists of calls to return; through it all God’s love will pursue us.

Dearest God,

Thank you so much for pursuing us with Your love.  Thank You for noticing all the little things we do.  Thank You for caring more about our attitudes and our hearts than our performance.  Your grace brings us awe of Your goodness time and time again.

May we work with eager hearts and eager hands.  Whatever work lies before us be it making clothing, making calls, writing, presenting, planning, teaching, cleaning or cooking may we do it with You and for Your glory.  May Your pleasure bring great gladness to our lives. 

May we savor Your love and use it to sweeten the lives around us.  In Jesus name,

Amen

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