The Sweet Christian Bride

Proverbs 31 Wife: Assiduous

by admin on March 13, 2012 in Faith, Relationship with 3 Comments

“She seeks wool and flax,

and works with willing hands.

She is like the ships of the merchant,

she brings her food from far away” (Proverbs 31:13-14).

How valuable a hard-working woman is to her family!  Certainly in the sense of financial ease does a working woman benefit her household, but also in the non-employed sense, there is assurance in one who eagerly and attentively pursues a vocation for the home.

Your work can include household chores, child-rearing, financial management, income earning, cooking, or anything else that is needed to support your marriage, family, faith, and household.  You and your husband get to sort through those tasks together in order to find the most suitable division of labor.  Whatever you decide on, you can find joy in knowing that “it is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:24b).  You are not just a worker bee without regard.

What strikes me in the above passage is the active nature by which the Proverbs 31 Wife pursues good work.  “She seeks wool and flax, and she works with willing hands” (emphasis mine).  As one who desires to be a stay-at-home mom with a vocation in the home, I can sometimes be guilty of complaining about the full-time employment that I currently have.  Sometimes I go to work begrudgingly, only to come home tired and resent the “chores” that are waiting for me in the home (the very ones that I’m eager one day to take on).  Double unwillingness!

But in our six years of marriage, my husband and I have learned how to be a willing team both with the work in the job field and with the work in the home.  Learning how to be teammates in life’s work has helped me to want to be one in whom he can trust and have no lack of gain.  I respect him for the work that he does for our family, and he respects me for the work that I do for our family.  Learning this partnership is not always a smooth process for a married couple, but the point is, it is a learning process.  Do not fret if you are an unwilling worker today; pray that God would help you to be more willing tomorrow.  That continual prayer will begin to show its fruit in your work ethic and attitude eventually.  And when it does, your husband will not be able to help but notice.

The funny thing is, as much as I struggle with complaining about work, I have an assiduous spirit by nature.  If I am given a free day, I would fill it with all sorts of productive tasks and creative outlets.  When I am free to nurture that spirit, not only does work get done voluminously and well, but also the joy in my heart abounds.  If you are like me in that regard, the trickiest part for you will likely be learning how to work willingly when the task is not desirable or when the timing is inconvenient, or in more dire circumstance, when the marriage does not yet provide the framework to be a team in life’s work.  A Proverbs 31 Wife seeks out excellent opportunities for work (whether in or out of the home) and does so willingly, not by coercion or with complaint.

She is one who is “like the ships of merchants” (v 14), gathering the very best quality at the very best price and going the distance to find and secure that.  I know wives who make games out of using coupons.  Spending their time comparing prices and shopping at multiple stores becomes an adventure for them rather than a burden.

What would it look like for you to be like the ships of merchants?  Maybe you commute to your job so your family can plant roots in your neighborhood while you develop in a really good company.  Maybe one day it will mean arranging the rides for multiple children to attend multiple schools because that is the best situation for each child.  Maybe it means something as simple as picking up food from your fiancé’s favorite restaurant in order to celebrate him on his birthday.

All of the above fall under the assiduous nature of a Proverbs 31 Wife because you are seeing or anticipating a need and willingly going the distance and seeking the resources or solutions to meet it.  It’s no wonder that this wife “is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10)!

Being assiduous, however, is not limited to physical work or employment.  It also signifies the willingness of the spirit to be trained, nurtured, and disciplined for the sake of God’s glory.  John Gill writes in his commentary on the passage, “Now as to the mystical sense of these words; as of wool outward garments, and of flax linen and inward garments, are made; by the one may be meant external, and by the other internal, acts of religion; both are to be done, and not the one without the other: outward acts of religion are, such as hearing the word, attendance on ordinances, and all good works, which make up a conversation garment that should be kept; and they should be done so as to be seen of men, but not for that reason: and internal acts of religion are, the fear of God, humility, faith, hope, love, and other graces, and the exercises of them, which make up the new man, to be put on as a garment; and these should go together.”1

A Proverbs 31 Wife willingly seeks out that which will improve her outward and inward spiritual garment.  And as a merchant ship, “not like a single one, but like a navy of them, that cross the seas, go to foreign parts, and come back laden with rich goods: so the church of Christ, and her true members, like ships of burden, trade to heaven, by prayer and other religious exercises, and return with the riches of grace and mercy, to help them in time of need; and though they have often difficult and dangerous passages, are tossed with tempests, and covered with billows; yet, Christ being their pilot, faith their sail, and hope their anchor, they weather the seas, ride out all storms, and come safe home with their merchandise.”2

What a precious one, a wife whose first employment is to her Lord Christ, fitting herself and her household with the garments of faith and supplying them with the riches of its fruits!  Out of that lavishness of her spirit, this wife can then employ herself in the tasks of the home and the skills of one who holds the best interest of her husband and household in her willing heart.

1 Gill, John. John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible. Accessed 13 March 2012.

2 Gill, John. John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible. Accessed 13 March 2012.

By Lindsay
  • There are currently 3 Comments.

  • The Sweet Christian Bride
    • Emily says:

      Great article!

    • admin says:

      Thank you, Emily!

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