“She puts her hand to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.”
Hard work. How many of us like the sound of those two words? Do we cherish the thought of waking up in the morning knowing our day is going to be full of hard work? Do we feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a day when a job is completed and completed well? Or do we spend more time looking forward to the week-end when we will not have to work and can spend time entertaining or amusing ourselves doing the things we want to do. Perhaps work provides no real sense of satisfaction.
In Proverbs 31:10-31, there are nine verses out of twenty-one related to work. This lady is not afraid of hard work, does not shun hard work, nor does she sit around waiting for things to get accomplished. She is willing to work, and seems to not only accomplish many tasks but also enjoys the work that is before her.
She knows how to use her hands with skill in providing clothing for her family and perhaps others. This verse describes a very ancient method of spinning used in the days before the spinning wheel even existed. The distaff was a staff used for holding the flax or wool which would be spun into thread by means of the spindle. The spindle would turn and twist the fibers into threads. The spindle was a round stick with tapered ends used to form and twist the yarn in hand spinning.
Most women today do not use a distaff or a spindle to make the cloth needed to sew their clothes. Generally, we would see a spindle and a distaff at a place like Henry Ford Village where they have recreated parts of our American history and way of life. This verse is not antiquated as we can take the principles seen in this verse and apply them to our lives.
- Work – this lady is not afraid of hard or tedious work. She is willing to do the job that needs to be done in order to provide for the needs for her family.
- Details – it can be tedious and meticulous work to take the flax or wool from the distaff and make it onto string that is placed on the spindle. There are jobs in our homes that seem tedious or require meticulous attention in order to be completed. We must not shy away from them or think ourselves overqualified to pay attention to the details of our homes.
- Diligent/Perseverance – in order for the wool or flax to be made into string/thread/yarn that is used to make the cloth that would then be sewn to make clothing, diligence is a must. This job needs to be completed in a timely manner.
- Humility – this lady had servants that could do some of the menial tasks, yet she willingly did this rather mundane job. This requires a sense of humility in whatever projects we take on. We are not too good to perform the menial tasks that need to be accomplished.
- Skill – whatever she asked anyone in her household to do, she had the skill to perform it and teach it to others.
We can learn much from this verse if we take the time to glean from it the truths hidden amongst the flax and wool. We must not be afraid of mundane tasks, but rather we must seek to perform the job that is before us with joy in our hearts. We must do the dishes or clean the toilets or whatever other task needs to be accomplished with a deep sense of responsibility and love for our families. They will see this lived out in our lives, and it will provide for them a security and an example to follow as they move out into the world.
- Re-read Proverbs 31:10-31 and find the nine verses related to work. As you find them write down each verse and what it says about work.
- As the verses today may not seem as applicable since we do not spin flax or wool to make our clothes, what is applicable from the nine verses related to work to your life?
- Do you struggle with staying focused on a project? Are there many undone projects at your home? Why?
- What must you do in order to get some of these projects completed? Who will you talk with to keep you accountable in completing these tasks?