The Virtuous Woman – Willing to Work

First I would like to apologize for the length of time between posts. It seems my life has exploded with a lot of activity lately and something had to give. In this case, it was the Blog.

Now on to our study of Proverbs 31.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:13

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

When I saw this next verse, I started laughing. And anyone who has spent any time around me is probably laughing too. Why? I love to knit! I work with wool and linen and cotton and other fibers all the time. I knit in my house, in my car, waiting for an appointment, before church, after church, in the restaurant waiting on my food and many other places and times.

However, though this verse mentions working with fibers of the wooly kind, that is not its main intent. I believe that the main emphasis is on the latter half of the verse. The virtuous woman works willingly with her hands.

In this statement, I see two things. One she works willingly and two she is willing to get her hands dirty. The first observation is in the verse. Her willingness to work is a part of what makes her a virtuous woman. If she does not have what she needs ready at hand she goes and seeks it where it is likely to be found.

Photo Credit: Syrendell via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Syrendell via Compfight cc

For wool, this means raising sheep and then shearing them when the time is right. The shorn fleece is then washed (believe me, if you have ever seen a fleece right off the sheep, you know you may have to wash it more than once.) After it is washed, it is carded and then spun into yarn to be knit or woven into garments. Some fleece is left unspun for various tasks, batting in blankets, fulled to make felt, etc.

For flax, you need to plant the seeds, wait for them to grow, harvest the plant, and beat the stalks to obtain the fiber in the middle of the stalk. It is then spun into thread or yarn and also woven or knit into something useful. Underwear, toweling, summer garments, bandages, swaddling, etc. Linen, the fabric that is produced from flax, was one of the main fabrics of Biblical times.

Photo Credit: Vasquezz via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Vasquezz via Compfight cc

The second observation is implied. Obtaining either fabric or fiber was a lot of work and not all of it the clean type. Sheep are animals and you have to feed and clean up after them. Plants require a lot of work as well. So for the virtuous woman to have what she needed to clothe her family, she had to work.

Why was she doing all this work? If we look in the context, we see she was clothing her family and making sure they were warm when it was cold and cool when it was hot. She was working willingly for love of her family.

So how can this apply to us? I am single I do not have a family for which to provide. What is my motivation to work willingly?

The answer is love for God and for others should motivate us to work willingly. So you don’t have a family for which to provide, so what? Remember Dorcas in Acts? She worked willingly with her hands to provide for the needy.

But …

I don’t knit or do any of those other hand crafts like the virtuous woman! That is not a problem. The underlying principle is to use what talents and abilities God has given you and utilize them willingly in His service. Ok, so you don’t know how to do hand crafts, you can learn! Or if you have no interest or ability in that area, look for another area where something is needed. The point is to do it willingly!