"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." (Proverbs 31:10)
The last chapter in the book of Proverbs, God’s book of wisdom, is taken up with the contemplation of the virtues of a godly woman. In fact God uses the same reference point for her worth that he uses for wisdom.
“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” (Proverbs 8:11)
The greatest blessings of Earth that God has given to mankind are friends and especially family. What is more beautiful than a wedding ceremony between a man and woman in love? What can tug the heartstrings more than the playing and laughter of the little children that God blesses the home with?
And who plays a more key role to the well-being of that family than the mother?
The chapter goes on to tell us some of the virtues that are valued so highly by God in motherhood. First is her faithful maintenance of a secure marriage.
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:11-12)
Next is the old-fashioned virtue of industry and hard work.
“She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” (Proverbs 31:13)
In a day when rising the corporate ladder is presented as the most fulfilling life the Bible still holds working with the hands as rewarding and honourable.
And the daily labours of looking after children is not presented in this chapter as drudgery to be escaped but is another virtue in the eyes of God.
“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” (Proverbs 31:15)
The mother here also goes beyond the home in her industry and entrepreneurial energy.
“She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.” (Proverbs 31:16)
It is not that she cannot be involved in other enterprises beside her household, it is just that they are not more important to her than the Lord’s commission to her to keep the home.
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:29)
The secret of this woman's success is the priority given to first pleasing the Lord and so fulfilling her calling in the home.
“Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:28-30)
Ian Kurylyk is pastor at Summerside Fundamental Baptist Church.