Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Guiding the Home Part 2

There are some people who have an excellent way of keeping the right focus on things, when explaining the Bible. They neither take it too literally, nor too liberally. Such are those who attempt to explain things concerning the role of women. There are those who would, in their attempt to justify insisting on sending their wives to work, say that the Proverbs 31 woman went to work. Based on the verse about her making things for the merchant, they insist that she sat in a shop all day and sold the things she made. Others say that she herself was so industrious that she stayed up late at night to make things to sell.

Some people would like it to say, "She runs from her job to the grocery store and daycare and plops into bed exhausted, day after day. At the end of a lifetime, her husband is proud of her because she helped him pay the house payment and the car payment. Without her, he would have lost it all."

My opinion is that if this woman were immitated literally, it would wear out one woman in just a few months. I've heard this passage explained as "seasons" or stages of a woman's life, and, as time passes by for me, I have discovered that this can be true. There is a time to be nursing your babies, and a time to be showing your children how to make things and sell them. There is a time to be looking after your mate, a time to plant a garden, a time to re-decorate, and a time to sew your family clothing. There is a time to be sick, and a time to rest. There are creative stages of one's life. There is a time to collect, and a time to stop collecting. There is a time to learn and a time to teach. One cannot possibly do everything in a lifetime that this woman portrays.

Some people insist that this woman was a real-estate agent during the day and stayed up in the night sewing. Instead of enjoying the painting, they are caught up in the brush strokes. This is just an example of a woman who does not waste time "hanging out" like many young girls today. She is concerned about how her family fares, and how her children turn out. She cares about her house.

The most sensible explanation I've heard on this, is that the woman represents the value of a woman. She is important not for the amount of income she brings in to "help out" but for the values and beliefs and standards she brings to the home. These are the things like thriftiness, wise use of time, beauty in furnishings and cloth, availability for helping others, and for teaching her children, and so forth. I don't think Proverbs 31 is about earning an income, as much as it is about having worthwhile goals and standards in life. Sometimes people try to read more into this passage than is intended, in order to shame women into thinking that besides taking care of the home and the children and husband, she should also be making some money.

The painting is called "Add a Little Love" by Carolyn Watson, and can be purchased at

What is needed, truly needed today, in the home and in society, is not more wage earners, but more love. When women left the home in pursuit of a wage, something very dear was lost. I feel sorry for the generation today that never knew what life was like when mosst women were home, investing in the lives of their husbands, children, parents, and church members. It would take more effort than I have time for, to describe what life was like in those days. There is an attempt to reproduce this and restore the family, for which I say hooray. It is truly a quiet revolution, that is totally without selfish ambition or love of money.

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