I KNOW THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN AND I AM NOT HER
I am not a big fan of the Proverbs 31 Woman. I don’t mean the one in the Bible. I mean the one who sits next to me sometimes in church. The one who always knows the Greek behind that tricky scripture – the one who can make a rambunctious boy mind his manners with just a look – the one who makes every husband swoon with her melt-in-your-mouth pot roast and made-from-scratch coconut cream pie – who helps at the soup kitchen and the women’s shelter and the homeless shelter – whose kids win the academic ribbons at school competitions and who has been a size 2 since high school. I don’t mean she fakes it or is arrogant with it. This is just really is who she is and how her life works.
Actually, I guess I am a big fan. I want to be her, but some of those ships have already sailed, (if you know what I mean).
As for me, I may be what you would call “a hot mess” more often than not. I might even have accidentally tripped over my own feet and dropped my store bought chocolate cake onto the carpet at church. Sorry if your child stepped in it before I cleaned it up.
Sometimes I get tired of trying for all the great characteristics of the Proverbs 31 Woman (I mean the one in the Bible now) all the time or even just for one day of my life. Even though she is an Old Testament gal, she is a true N.E.W. Church Lady.
However, I am encouraged by what I read of the positive N.E.W. Church Lady examples in the New Testament. You see, while the Proverbs 31 Woman is an analogy of Christian womanhood and is a compilation of all that a Christian woman could be, it seems to me that our New Testament N.E.W. Church Lady examples point to or focus on just one praise-worthy character trait or service. I do not mean to imply that these New Testament Church Ladies are one-dimensional. I mean that the scriptures tend to reveal and applaud just one great thing about each one.
Lydia – What do we know about why she is worthy of praise? She was given to hospitality. She was so much known for her hospitality that when Paul and Silas were released from prison, they went to Lydia’s house – unexpected and unannounced. We read about her inActs 16:14-15, 40. We don’t know if she could cook or ever bought a vineyard – if she had servants or even a husband. We know she opened her home to the traveling ministers. Is that your notable character quality too? Could it be?
Tabitha – What do we know about why she is worthy of praise? She made clothes for the widows. She got sick and died. Peter brought her back to life. We read her story here: Act 9:36-42 We don’t know if she could cook or ever bought a vineyard – if she had servants or even a husband. We know she was a seamstress and clothed the poor and needy. Is that your notable character quality too? Could it be?
Mary (Martha’s sister) – What do we know about why she is worthy of praise? She was passionate about spending time with the Word. She might have been a pretty lousy housekeeper – at least if you asked her sister, Martha. We read about her here: Luke 10:38-42. And that is not the only time she left Martha to cook while she lavished her devotion on Jesus. [Jhn 12:2-3]We don’t know if she ever bought a vineyard – if she ever had a husband or children. We know she was passionate about spending time with Jesus. Is that your notable character quality too? Could it be?
Pricilla – A true partner to her husband. I doubt she was sewing clothes for widows while she was also making tents with her husband. We read about her here: Act 18:2, 18, 26
We don’t know if she ever bought a vineyard – if she ever had children or servants. We know that if you do a word search for “Aquila” you will find her there – always Aquila and Pricilla or Pricilla and Aquila. She was a “help meet” for her mate in every way. Is that your notable character quality too? Could it be?
Mary Magdalene – We know she had deep, unflappable gratitude at healing mercy of God. We know she had seven demons cast out of her. So grateful was she, that while many disciples fled, she steadfastly stood beside Jesus’ mother at the event that consummated the wiping away of her (and all of our) sins, as gruesome as it must have been to watch. It moved her to care for the body of our Savior after His death. We read about her here: Mark 15:40; 16:9. We don’t know if she ever bought a vineyard – if she ever had a husband or children. We know her gratitude helped her to be strong in the most difficult times and she was rewarded with being the first to see our risen Lord. Is that your notable character quality too? Could it be?
Be nice to yourself, N.E.W. Church Lady. Figure out the one thing God has gifted you to do. Focus on building that one trait or talent in your life. Don’t feel your sewing for the poor is not good enough and give it up in favor of hospitality (or vice versa). Don’t give up being a true partner with your husband in your joint projects/home/ministry because you feel you don’t serve enough at the local shelter.
Also, remember to nice to others, who may just be working on their one thing this week and unable to help with your new project – especially if that “other” person is me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org
Next time: We’ll look at successful marriage – to a man or to Jesus -- for the N.E.W. Church Lady in a blog titled: “How to Win a Three-legged Race.”
About this N.E.W. Church Lady – She is just an average middle aged-woman who has been a believer and church attender all her life. She is married with three grown children. She lives in a small town and works in sales. Her hobbies are fitness, reading, cooking, writing and travel.