She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:13-16, 24, 27
Diligence. Kind of ironic that I’m a bit late in publishing this post, considering the subject matter but it is kinda good for a Monday morning!
Diligence is defined as ‘careful and persistent work or effort.’ One thing that immediately jumped out at me is that there is nothing about success, praise, or personal gain in that definition. Just like virtue, diligence is how you work because you know it is right – not because you are seeking your own gain or recognition. The Proverbs 31 Woman teaches us that work is a very good thing. She is dedicated, industrious, and seemingly never tired! Notice though, the second line of verse 13 – willingly works with her hands. It does not say joyfully or happily. She willingly worked. That’s what speaks the most to me about The Proverbs 31 Woman’s diligence and what we can learn from it.
Am I the only one that sometimes just doesn’t want to? Doesn’t want to do the dishes. Doesn’t want to cook – again. Doesn’t want to do the laundry. Doesn’t want to get up at o’dark thirty to gather my brain and focus it on Jesus before the kids wake up. On those days when my want-to is just gone, I try to remember that as my pastor’s wife has shared many times – I just have to be willing to be willing. I just have to be willing to remember that I’m not on this earth to serve me – I’m here to serve the Lord, my family, my church. Sometimes the path to being willing is paved with a whole lot of idon’twannas. But if we walk through the idon’twannas and get to a point of saying ‘if this is what you want Lord, I am willing,’ we are bringing glory to God. If bringing glory to God is our utlimate end goal, then we have to be willing to be willing.
Diligence and the willingness to serve can be taught from such a young age! A child that works willingly is such a breath of fresh air in our society. Teaching our daughters to serve with a willing heart prepares them for not only being helpful at home and in church, but also for real life. A young person that can work well is in a great position for getting small side jobs. Seeing how their habit of hard work can be profitable is an excellent reinforcement for all those lessons that were taught at a young age! More than anything though, we want our daughter to remember the real goal of willing work – bringing glory to God and being a witness of His work in their life.
If you’d like to use the downloadable study questions you can find the mom version here and the daughters version here.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men