Have you ever read the passage of Proverbs 31 and felt like you just read a long list of impossible standards? You get to the part where is says, …”and a portion for her maidservants…” and you roll your eyes in defeat. I feel ya. So let’s take another look at the Proverbs 31 woman and her maidservants. Maybe you’ll think about it differently!
It’s a point that often comes to mind when women read the passage of Proverbs 31. It goes something like this:
“Hmm. It’s says right here, ‘She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.’ I don’t have servants. I wish I maidservants. I’ll never have maidservants. Obviously this passage has nothing to do with me.”
I know. A maid would be nice. Maybe some of you have a maid who comes in once a week to help with cleaning the house, but for most of us that’s just not a reality. But I want you to know, God’s really not trying to discourage you!
The Modern Proverbs 31 Woman
#1 It’s true. You and I may not have maidservants who live with us and help us do all of our chores on a daily basis. But, we do have lot of help that certainly was not available to homemakers 2000 years – or even 200 years ago.
In fact, just just a 120 years ago, washing the laundry was still back breaking work. Imagine having to boil water and scrub heavy garments on a washboard. And after the clothes were dried on the line they’d have to be ironed because permanent press did not exist.
Imagine having to haul out your heavy carpets and beating them with a stick to get the dirt out because vacuum cleaners had yet to be invented.
Imagine having to sew ALL your family’s own clothing plus undergarments and outwear.
Those are just a few of the things we no longer have to do today because instead of human servants we have electric servants who serve us very well every day.
#2 We have information and resources at the click of a button. A woman who lived at the time of King Lemuel would have only had the knowledge of women in her community to help her when something wasn’t working. What if the entire community was ignorant?
Today, we can google just about anything and find a gazillion answers in an instant. We can read blogs, books, and magazines for free – as many as we want from the public library or on our portable devices. If our mother or trusted friends don’t know the answer – someone, perhaps even on the other side of the world, has probably found the answer and written about it online.
#3 We are incredibly blessed as modern women! I’m not saying life is easy. We’ve replaced hours of laundry with hours of little league or hours at the ice rink. We still stay very busy. But even at the end of a very busy day, most people come home to a warm house with soft beds and no bed bugs.
Can you imagine what life was really like back then? I think we idealize an “old fashioned” lifestyle because in our modern American culture we’ve grown so used to busyness that we long for what we think of as a simpler life. The kind of life people lived 150 years ago.
But would you really want to go back? Do you think that maybe our modern conveniences have spoiled us to the point where we no longer appreciate the blessings we really do have? Instead of being grateful for a dishwasher or washing machine we grumble that we have to load the dishwasher and washing machine – and then put all those clean belongings away because it’s too hard! I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been guilty of this!
Being a Proverbs 31 Woman, isn’t about being perfect or trying to live up to an impossible standard. It’s about seeking out God’s unique will for your life and living that life with purpose! It’s about being intentional about our time and our relationships. Always remember that when we try and do these things in our own strength we will fail, but when we rely on the strength of Jesus Christ, all things are possible!
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