Proverbs 31 contains a long section often called The Virtuous Wife or The Excellent Wife. The source material for this chapter is identified as the mother of King Lemuel (31:1). This famous chapter is a woman’s perspective on feminine excellence.
This portrait is of an industrious and practical woman who loves her family by striving to meet their needs.
- “She works with willing hands.” (Verse 13)
- “She brings…food.” (Verse 14)
- “She rises while it is yet night.” (Verse 15)
- She clothes her family. (Verse 21)
- “She watches over the affairs of her household.” (Verse 27, NIV)
The Excellent Mom is a portrait of active and earnest selflessness. Any mother realizes this quickly as excellent parenting requires service every day. It should humble all of us when we consider the sacrifices that our moms made for us growing up. Perhaps we take them for granted because they serve so selflessly. I think back to how my mom went beyond the call of duty to care for me. For example, I grew up with lots of ear problems. I had tubes in both ears twice. For long periods of time, I had to be very careful not to get water in my ears. To wash my hair, I would climb up on the counter of the kitchen and Mom would wash my hair in the sink with the sprayer. She did this for long seasons of my childhood.
Another example I remember is when as a teenager I got contact lenses. This was back in the day when people wore hard lenses. The doctor warned me that I couldn’t sleep with them in because they might damage my eyes. That freaked us out. How many nights when I was in bed or already asleep would my bedroom door open and my mom would say, “Steve, did you take your contacts out?” “Yes, Mom. Good night.” Why did she do these things? She loved me and she “worked with willing hands” and “watched over the affairs of her household.” I could go on and on with examples. You probably could add your own.
Scripture celebrates a mother’s service to her family and children. Is a mother’s servanthood valued in our culture today? Is serving your family as a life goal and purpose held in high regard? I don’t think so. I read a recent statement from a politician referring to another politician’s homemaker wife, “She hasn’t worked a day in her life!” We may think that is horrible, but how many Christian moms even among other Christians feel apologetic when asked what they do? I am a wife and a mother. How did we come to devalue that role?
Our culture only values work that is done for a paycheck. Everything is valued in materialistic categories. But that’s our culture and world and it is godless, so we should expect it. I am burdened that this is somehow subtly present in the church. How can the serving role of a mother be dismissed when our whole faith is built on Christ’s selfless service to us? What is the cross but selfless servanthood? Would any Christian say that what Jesus did wasn’t valuable because he didn’t get paid for it? We could call that blasphemy. Yet we blaspheme the quality of Christ’s service when we demean the selflessness of an excellent mom.
What is real greatness in the eyes of God? Serving. Self-giving. Agape love. Who embodies servanthood more than an excellent mom?
Moms, are you seeing your service to your family through the lens of our materialistic culture or God’s Word? Do you value your role as much as God does? Do you see yourself the way God sees you? I just think we have to fight this cultural thing or our moms and our teen girls will think being a wife and mother is a drag or beneath them. We have to see all self-giving, including motherly self-giving, as true greatness or we don’t see what Christ did as that great. You can’t have it both ways.
So let’s celebrate being a wife and a mom at Bethel Church. No mom needs to cough as she says her career is being a mom and serving her family. No teen girl should apologize in any way for wanting to serve her family as a wife and mother when she grows up, if the Lord wills it. That is wonderful! If that is greatness in the Kingdom of God, then it must be held as greatness in the Church, too.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Some Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
© 2012 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.