LETTERS TO MY SON: work
She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
You were born into a family of hard-working women. Not a lazy, bon-bon munching, soap opera watching one among us.
Do you remember how your Gramma Ruth used to hustle about the house? Always slightly out of breath as she tackled her tasks? Yet when we’d come for a visit she’d have all the time in the world to sit and listen and laugh in delight at her family. In reality she’d prepared for days in advance, baking, shopping, making up beds, dusting and setting out flowers and fresh towels.
So when we got there she could just enjoy us.
And how about my mom? She’s made quilts for each of us— long hours of cutting and sewing and designing just what we want. Basketball quilts for your cousin, cozy quilts for Rebekah, airplane pillow covers for you. And we won’t even talk about her cookie baking, lest we both start to salivate right here on the page.
And there is a purpose to all their hard work, Matthew.
They both poured their strength into making their families’ lives better.
This woman described in Proverbs 31 did the same. And we get a hint how in this verse and the ones to come.
First of all, she inconvenienced herself. She had to tuck her long, flowing robes into her belt so she could work hard and efficiently.
Secondly, she humbled herself. Remember, this was the wife of a king. When she cinched that belt up, she was intentionally choosing to set aside her position of royalty and get to work.
And she strengthened herself. And while this must have included physical strength training, I think it was more than that. I think she purposefully chose not to be whiney and weak and demanding and needy. Instead, she got up early every morning to put on strength of spirit by connecting herself with God and choosing to serve Him by caring for her household.
Matt, look for this kind of woman. And be this kind of man.
Because this is just what Jesus did when He walked into the Upper Room, just hours before He knew He would die. He saw (and probably smelled) all those dirty feet of His disciples, knew that none of them were about to tackle the unsavory task, tucked His robe up into His belt, and washed their feet.
And in so doing, He strengthened all of them for the days ahead.
Matthew, ten years from now you’ll most likely be married with a baby and maybe a toddler or two and more work than you can possibly get done in a day. If you have a wife by your side who is willing to put her shoulder to the tasks with you, who cheerfully and vigorously pours herself into whatever needs to be done, who is willing to do more than her fair share just because she’s that kind of woman— well, my son, you’ll be singing her praises just like King Lemuel did.
How can you tell if the woman you date is “energetic and strong, a hard worker”?
Here’s my list for the day:
- She makes lists in order to figure out what needs to be done.
- She keeps a calendar in order to fit it all in.
- She adds that extra flair to what she does.
- She whistles while she works- seriously!
- She knows when to set aside her task and sit and listen.
- She is all about making others comfortable.
- She is planning for a future that involves helping others.
I think you can see from this list that the purpose of this woman’s work is not to get rich and famous. She works in order to make the lives of people she loves better, more comfortable, happier... beautiful.
From my heart,
P.S. Do you have a story of someone who worked for your benefit? Someone who set aside her comfort in order to make your life better?