Stop Wasting Time! 3 Aspects Undergirding our Work Ethic: Tracking the Proverbs 31 Woman Series 16

‘She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.’’  (Proverbs 31:13)

What picture comes to mind when you read the words of this verse? What does it even mean to work with eager hands?

Well, let’s continue tracking the Proverbs 31 woman. We are exploring diligence in today’s blog post.

The Oxford dictionary defines diligence as:

“careful and persistent work or effort” 

A quick read of the Proverbs 31 passage reveals a couple of other verses in the same chapter that reflects the theme of diligence. We will look at these verses too.

Verses 17, 19, 22, and 27 say:

‘‘She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. In her hand, she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She makes coverings for her bed, she is clothed in fine linen and purple. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.’’

I write on diligence, keenly aware that many young women, and some older ones as well, are addicted to the screen.

It is not uncommon to find our young women watching movie after movie. One young Christian woman once shared with me that she did exactly this. One night she watched and watched. Much to her chagrin, she saw the dawn setting in. Keep in mind that she wasn’t watching anything to solicit rebuke. She was watching Bible stories!

Who came up with series in movie making? These are some of those that keep young people glued to the screen for many hours. Is this a wise use of time? Let’s continue.

What about the smartphone? The majority of us now own smartphones. With the ease of accessibility to the internet, it is now not uncommon to find ourselves constantly on the phone.

Even when one is not constantly on the phone, those snatches of time used up when I involuntarily turn to the phone to catch up with what’s going on in the media space can easily add up to wasted time at the end of the day.

Currently, in many homes, it’s not unusual to find a man on the phone, his wife on the phone, and the children as well. There is absolutely no communication between them, to say the least.

We could talk of many time wasters including betting that is becoming a snare to many in our country with its promise of overnight riches.

Some time-wasters are unique to you and me; that particular time waster may be coming to your mind right now as you read this!

Paul wrote these words to the believers at Ephesus:

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16)

Our reflections so far are bringing us to the reality that precious kingdom time is getting wasted whether through endless hours spent before the screen, through engaging in an endless talk that’s not necessarily edifying, through such activities as betting, or simply lazing around doing nothing of value to the kingdom.

The Proverbs 31 woman eagerly worked with their hands. This is work she took in her stride and embraced. She loved to work.

This is not to say it was easy. This however communicates to us that God-ordained work is not always easy but the fulfillment that comes from it is enough to get me sleeping at the end of the day a fulfilled woman.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you decide to purchase something.

(By the way, in case you’d like more insight into the Proverbs 31 chapter, you can buy our book based on this passage right here on Amazon.)

Whenever I am working on any content, I like to get insights from other people on a topic before sharing it. One of how I do this is to share with my husband the content and then he gives me his input.

So, as we were discussing, he made this statement: “Why would God create eyes, hands, and feet. It’s because he wants us to use our hands and feet to be able to work hard and earn from our work.”

This brings us to the fact that it is God’s will for us to appreciate the value of hard work.

The reality though for many of us in our country is that we have been oriented to believe that we should work hard in school and pass exams to make it in life. Any other form of work is considered second rate. It shouldn’t, therefore, be taken too seriously.

A Kiswahili song that I heard on the radio weekly as I was growing up sums up this philosophy: Someni vijana muongeze pia bidii mwisho wa kusoma, mtapata kazi nzuri sana).

The song urges young people to work hard in school because when they finish their studies, they will get really good jobs.

You and I need to do our very best in school. Be it as it may but aren’t we becoming lopsided in our worldview when we simply assume hard work only applies to formal education and not any other informal education that involves manual work?

During the holiday, for instance, not many young people want to engage in manual work. If a home happens to have a house help, the youngster’s home is enviable to his or her peers.

Some parents will even encourage children to study and not to engage in household duties because studying is the most important thing.

Fast forward. When a young person completes school, they have no idea what to do with their free time. Their mind is preoccupied with getting the white-collar job formal education promised.

The scriptural balance is appreciating all work; both manual and virtual; whether it presents itself as formal education or informal education, or in any other God glorifying way. Scripture encourages all and sundry to engage in work so long as it honours God, serves humanity and is legally acceptable in society. That’s why God says:

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” (Col.3:23)

The Proverbs 31 woman worked hard. She worked with her hands to provide a conducive environment for her household to thrive.

Just reading through Proverbs 31 helps us see that she had a healthy God-centered attitude toward work.

Have you ever wondered why God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it? (2:15) He did this before the fall!

God ordained work gives us the much-needed sense of accomplishment that motivates us to keep at it until it is done.

No wonder Jesus would declare that he has completed the work God sent him to do as he faced the cross. (John 17:4)

Let’s reflect on 3 very important aspects that undergird our work ethic as we learn from the Proverbs 31 Woman:

  1. Time

As we talk of diligence, a character quality that embodies work, we can view it better with the backdrop of time in place.

Keep in mind that time is a resource we have been given with which to actualize our work. Looking at time as we reflect on diligence, will help us plan wisely to redeem the time.

A simple schedule can go a long way to help you as a woman wisely allocate your time to activities that are both edifying and vital for your household.

I have been greatly helped by keeping to a workable routine and schedule as a stay-at-home-mom. Added to this has been the daily practice of writing a to-do list every morning to help me seek to fulfill what matters.

  1. Learning Skills

With modern technology do we have any excuse not to keep learning? Unless of course, we have the challenge of data where we are. Even then, God has a way of providentially working in our circumstances to know what he wants us to learn or do at any given point in time.

We however must trust him to deal with a wrong attitude and worldview concerning work.

Once he deals with that, we will be surprised at how much we can learn. We will be surprised at how many skills we can acquire and use for his glory.

We will be amazed at how those very skills will be a blessing to others.

I watched one girl I walked with perfect the skill of baking for the brief stint she was at our house. She makes her living out of that as I write this.

I plait my own children’s hair with a skill I acquired growing up. I have worked on several mats in our home from a skill I acquired making mats later in life. I am still in the business of acquiring skills to date, and learning something new. Driving and editing videos are some of those I learned in adulthood.

Are you having some free time on your hands? Find out what God might be leading you to learn or to do in a given season. Don’t waste your time.

  1. Household work is not a curse

The Proverbs 31 woman’s day is full. It is therefore interesting for me to note that she doesn’t have servant girls because she is an affluent woman who can afford to hire servant girls so she can sit back and do nothing.

I believe she has so much to do that she would need the help of servant girls.

Approaching household work with this attitude helps a woman to not only appreciate work but to also appreciate those she has hired to help her do the work.

Titus 2:5 exhorts women to be busy at home. Part of being busy at home is getting involved in housework. Getting involved in housework also means appreciating it as God-given to provide a conducive environment of the home so that family members and those God brings to that home can thrive.

When we keep this in mind, then housework becomes not just bearable but also a joy.

Maintaining the right attitude towards work will be very key for you and me as we cultivate the character quality of diligence and as we seek to glorify God by all we do.

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