Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
This is a companion verse to Monday's passage, for it mentions once again that a Spirit-filled woman is deserving of praise. And it's the final verse in our studies of this amazing woman who does not eat the bread of idleness. These studies have been inspirational to me, and I hope that one or two posts have blessed you, as well.
(I plan to make this series a tab on the Bible Study blog, so that everyone may access them easily.)
Have you been cheering for this Spirit-filled woman as we have studied? Have you admired her strength, her tirelessness, her faith in her Lord?
I think an appropriate reward for her would be a nice, relaxing day at the spa . . . or maybe she should have the top billing as "Church Volunteer of the Year," maybe she could be featured on a television show. . . or maybe she should just look at everyone and announce, "I'm going to Disneyland."
Back to reality. They didn't have spas or amusement parks in the ancient world, and they sure as the world would not have paraded her as the preeminent church worker, either. In fact, women were (as we've studied before) not valued then as they are now. Many times their only claim to fame was that they had produced an heir. Many others were simply considered a part of the household - something akin to a piece of property. Oy.
What a contrast is this woman! This virtuous lady not only completed her duties to her family with amazing results, she also made wise investments and cared for the needy. She showed herself to be trustworthy, industrious, supportive of her spouse, wise, and kind. She relied on God for her strength, and modeled a reverence for the Lord for all to see.
These last few verses have shown what the rewards for her diligence would be . . . first, recognizing her godly influence and virtues, both her husband and their children praised her.
Wow. Her reward is the praise of her closest loved ones. Some people may think that praise is not much of a reward, but I believe many women would join me in saying that praise from a spouse, a child, or even our own elders is a sweet trophy, and a heart-warming reward.
Secondly, her reward came from those outside the home, as well. . . "her works bring her praise at the city gates." We've seen her diligence in caring for those she loved, and we've seen the results. Her family (and others) have been well cared for, clothed for the season, fed physically and fed spiritually, and her husband has been able to become all that he has potential to be, since she is handling the household with such finesse! He has become a sought-after citizen at the important meetings of the city, at the gates where judicial and community matters are settled. And it's known that she is the reason he is able to give of himself and his talents to the community. So now, we see that others, outside the family, praise her as well.
Lastly, we know that God praises her. Verse 10 of this chapter compares this Spirit-filled woman to a ruby -- actually it says that she is worth more than rubies! In God's eyes, a Proverbs 31 woman is a treasure!
Whether we are single or married, whether we minister to parents, spouse, or a house full of children, we need to rely on His strength as we love and support those for whom we are responsible. We are rare, and He considers our worth to be far more than any earthly treasure.
Goin' to Disneyland? Not me! I'm needed right here!