“She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”
Here we see the Proverbs 31 woman again working to provide for the needs of her family. While we are not told who she is weaving for, we have already seen how she toils for her family and I’m sure that if she had extra, she could always sell it or give it away to the poor. It was the custom of the day for even rich women to take up all kinds of occupations within the home to care for and support their families. The point is that her family comes first. She is not looking to sacrifice her family’s comfort and care to provide the needs of someone else’s family. Each wife and mother is first responsible for their own family. And if you have extra time or goods, then you can pass them on to someone who needs it. In other words, there is no reason to let your family go hungry or without clothing while you provide for someone else’s husband or children.
As I was looking up the words in the verse; there were two that struck me in particular. The first was seeks. It means to apply one’s self, to study or to practice. She doesn’t just look casually around and pick what items look good to her. She studies what is best, where to find it, and with practice, she learns how to save time and money too. And it is also worth noting that these are not finished products that the verse is talking about. These are raw materials that she will have to spin and weave herself to make things. So it may also be that she has to study how to grow and harvest these raw materials. And if she grows them herself, she will need to know what types of flax will grow best in her area, what kinds of sheep will produce the kind of wool she wants to use. All these things take time to learn. And there will be plenty of time for her to practice and hone her skills.
The second word that I found interesting was willingly; literally it means delight or pleasure. She takes delight or pleasure in working with her hands. It is not drudgery to her nor is it just another chore to be completed so she can do what she really wants to do. She takes pleasure in her work. We too should take pleasure in serving our families and in working with our hands. Granted most of us don’t spin or weave, but for most of us, we have other chores that we dislike. And I don’t expect that just by telling yourself you now take delight in washing dishes or laundry or changing another diaper that your attitude will change. It will take time and prayer to truly begin to take pleasure in these things. It always helps me to find something good about the chores I don’t like. For example, I’m not a fan of folding laundry. I would rather let it sit there and wear clothes out of the basket, rather than fold it. But I remind myself that I hate even more seeing all that laundry just sitting in my laundry room. Because of that, I am learning to take delight in folding, knowing that my home looks more neat and clean if I do.
So my challenge to you all for today is to find something that you need to start taking delight in doing for your family. Yours may be washing dishes, it maybe homeschooling, it may be ironing. Whatever the Lord lays on your heart, begin with that area. Start by praying that God will change your heart and then find things about that chore to be thankful for. Maybe you can memorize a scripture to remind you of why you are doing that chore. Find some way to help you remember why you are doing what you are doing and give the glory to the Lord while you work!