I'd like to thank you for allowing me some "re-charging" time . . . I appreciate the break I had, and I am fired up to begin this next section of our studies on the Proverbs 31 woman.
The next part of her character that we will study is her role as a homemaker. This is probably the largest chunk of verses in this passage, so I'd like to have you start with verse 13:
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
This verse begins the section on her role as a devoted homemaker -- but did you notice the transition here? In verse 12, Lemuel is talking about how a wife needs to be pretty spiritual. Not only is she the ruler of the house, and managing the household, but she is also being her husband's conscience, and doing him good, never evil. For all the days of her life, she is devoted to making it possible for him to be everything that he can be. It's God's plan for her to comfort, encourage, and strengthen him.
But do her submission and her godly virtues make her into some kind of a spiritual drone? Does she become a religious recluse, and shirk the duties of the home? NO!
She is not becoming the resident theologian, nor is she spending every moment in study. She is using her hands! She is full of energy in the duties of the home.
Why is it important to note here that she looks for flax and wool?
In ancient times, wool was used for cold weather garments, and flax for hot times; each fiber had unique properties that made them perfect for these uses.
Wool has tiny pockets between its fibers that trap warm body air and
release it in small amounts, which keep your temperature regulated. It
even works when wet by producing small amounts of heat as it absorbs and
Linen, made from flax, is an airy cloth and provides the body the freedom to breathe freely. It has the ability to absorb sweat and wick it away from the body, and it even repels some insects!
This excellent woman wants those in her care to have the comfort of these fibers during the seasons when they're needed. First she has to purchase the bare product of flax and wool; she needs to then spin them into thread, and then weave the thread into cloth on her loom. Once it is woven into fabric, she will cut it and make garments out of it. Her needle and spindle served the family and she worked with her hands in delight -- the translation above says, "eager" hands.
You see, there is no complaining here. She does not begrudge the time spent. She finds joy in this labor -- because she loves the people for whom she labors. It is this love that keeps her working happily. I found one translation that said her hands are active "after the pleasure of her heart." I find that inspiring!
It should not be hard for us to do our work; our work is not an unwilling chore, because we love the people who are served by our work. We love our work because we love our families, and we love our husbands. If our work brings us pleasure, we are truly excellent wives!
Our single friends can find treasure here, too. They may be working to help the household of a parent, or they may be working in the community of believers. Whether ministering to parents, or to church members, our work can bring us joy. We can do all for the glory of Him Who saved us.
Single or married, we can work cheerfully, and smile while we serve!