Sunday, March 29, 2015

Being "That" Woman

I appreciated a reminder the other day that humility is not about me--it's actually about someone else. The less I think about me (my failures or successes; my choices, words and actions) the more I'm thinking about someone else. That's what Jesus did--He lived a life focused on pleasing His Father and meeting the desperate need of others. Like carrying a full cup of liquid, the less I look at it the steadier it travels.

I've also been pondering the passage about the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31--and the fact that it was given to a young man by his wise mother. This is a "Son, when you're ready for a wife..." And the combination of humility and the Proverbs 31 wife is this--it's really not about me. I can try and try, but working to be a good wife only backfires.  This woman lived with her eyes focused outside her needs and wants to the needs and wants of others. Because of that, Proverbs 31 has a larger application than just wives and mothers.
Once upon a time I told my son to look for a wife with 2 qualifications. "Find a wife 1) that loves Jesus more than she loves you and 2) that has a heart of joy." I figured that was a good place to start. King Lemuel's mother gave it more thought--and God inspired it for eternity.

The woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 was not concerned with how to become a virtuous woman. Instead, she lost herself in serving others and accomplished much. Like Jesus, her love for others was evident in her actions. There is very little about her expectations, her likes and dislikes, the help she received or the sympathy she inspired. What we know is that she loved her husband, her maidens, the poor, the needy, her household, and the tradesmen. She looked for ways to do good to those in her care, fill her days productively, help those in need and fill a niche in the market.

How and why? Because she feared the Lord. Her eyes were fixed on Him. Her words and deeds were motivated by worship and devotion--not to others, but toward God, the Giver of all good gifts. How life would change if my focus was on those around me instead of myself! How much happier I'd be and how much more peace I'd have if my eyes were fixed on the Lord instead of my tipping cup.

By God's grace, my needs are met. Now to walk in faith, watching and seeing; serving and loving!

The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:
An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:1, 10-31)

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