“She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.”
I love to work. While growing up, there was always work to do. We had a large garden and yard, so there was always mowing, weeding, bean picking, corn shucking, house cleaning, etc. I definitely receive a greater sense of satisfaction now when a task is completed than I did back then. Growing up, I think I tried to get out of work more than I tried to accomplish it.
“She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.” (Proverbs 31:13) Most women today do not have sheep and a field of flax that they tend in order to provide clothing for their families. The concepts behind this verse still ring true in modern day women and should not be dismissed as an antiquated verse.
A little bit of explanation of the words here will provide a background for us to present a framework for our present day application. The sheep were shorn in the spring and the wool was used to make warm outer garments for the members of this wise women’s household. Since they were shorn in the spring she had all summer to process the wool and make the garments for her family for the winter to come. She planned ahead.
The flax was harvested at different times for different purposes and uses in the home. Soon after the flax flowered, it was harvested and used to make soft fabric, linen, that would provide a nice set of clothing fit for aristocracy. The longer the flax was left in the field the stronger the stalks became and when harvested they would be used to make things such as ropes and mats. The seeds would also be used to make flax oil, which has many health benefits. This again shows how she planned ahead and looked for ways to provide for the health and well-being of her family.
Seeks, works, and willing all give us a clue as to her character. As she seeks the wool and flax she is searching, examining, and caring about the best for her family. Work. This fine lady does not sit idly by waiting for her servants, her children, or her husband to do all of the household chores. This does not mean that she is super women and does it all, but through the process of working she is teaching and training the next generation of wives, her daughters, how to work.
The word willing in its original Hebrew means great delight and pleasure. This woman is not bitter as she works, but rather finds great pleasure and delight in the work she does that will provide for the needs of her family. While growing up, my mom sang as she worked. I cannot remember what she was singing, but she was singing as she vacuumed or dusted or whatever needed to be done to care for our family. Sometimes the radio was playing and she would sing along and sometimes it was a capella, singing the songs the Lord laid on her heart.
What can we learn as modern day women and wives from this old fashioned verse?
- As women, we need to plan ahead for the needs of our families. There are many trips we have taken as a family in which I have planned food we can eat on the road or at a hotel, so we do not have to spend money on unhealthy fast food. Flying by the seat of our pants as moms can be unnerving for our children as they never know what to expect.
- As women we must be diligent in our work. If we expect our children to be diligent in a task, we must first teach them by our willing example. Be a hard worker, not an example of laziness.
- Do your work with a song on your lips. We may not actually be singing as we work, but our attitude should be one of pleasure and delight. Even cleaning the toilets or scrubbing the floors can be a pleasurable task if we have the proper attitude.
Remember the choices we make today, even our attitude while completing an unpleasant task, will set up the attitudes our children will have about the chores we give them to do in the future. We cannot expect our children or others we are around to have better attitudes than we do. Plan today to whistle while you work.
- Do you seek out the work that needs to be done, or do you hide from it hoping it will not find you?
- Read Proverbs 6:6-8. What are the positive qualities and the negative qualities mentioned here about work?
- Do you seek criticism in your life? Genuine constructive criticism? If not, you need to. Ask someone close to you whether they think you are a hard worker, always willing to work, or if you are a dictator always looking for ways to get out of work. If you do not want to hear the answer, do not ask the question. If you do not want to ask the question, then you already know the answer. Ask someone close to you whether they think you are industrious and work hard? Ask them to give you evidences of either thing. Do not be angry with them about the answer.