A Godly Woman - WOW!
Dear friends in Christ,
I am not a fan of our president’s policies. Truthfully, not many Christians should be. His same sex marriage endorsement this week causes me disgust. Besides that, one more thing stirred me up recently when his campaign launched a fictional storybook ad called, "The Life of Julia." It is a slide show that follows Julia, a cartoon character, from age 3 to age 67. It explains how Obama's policies, from Head Start to Obamacare to mandated contraception coverage to Medicare reform, would provide Julia a better life.
She goes to a public school; she graduates from college. What it doesn’t say is that she probably has at least $30,000 in loans. Nor is it said that 50% of college grads are finding it difficult to land a job. But she becomes a Web designer. She is able to pursue her career because, at age 27, "her health insurance is required to cover birth control and preventive care, letting Julia focus on her work rather than worry about her health." There is no mention of whether she is married or not but she apparently is having sex which is her civil right but not her moral right.
At age 31 she "decides to have a child." There is no mention of a father or husband. Her son Zachary heads off to a “Race to the Top” funded public school, while Julia goes on to start her own Web business. She retires at age 67 with Social Security and Medicare supporting her financially and spends her later years volunteering in a community garden.
If that is supposed to be the average woman, then she is far removed from the godly woman that the Holy Writer defines in this very famous section of Proverbs. While many think that God is not relevant anymore, the Lord shows us otherwise. He gives a job description of –“A Godly Woman – Wow!” Let’s look at 1) her valuable role; 2) her duties); 3) her faith.
In Hebrew, this poem from Proverbs has an interesting form. There are twenty two verses. There are also twenty two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. In Hebrew the first letter of each verse begins with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. The technical term for this kind of poem is acrostic. But in the end, the form is not what counts so much as the substance. This poem has plenty to say about the godly woman who knows she is redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
God did not make men to be women nor did God make women to be men. God created woman, in God’s own words, to be man’s “suitable helper.” Isn’t it fascinating that God created Adam but didn’t create Eve immediately? Adam, even though he was created perfectly, found that he was missing completeness until he met Eve. But when God did create woman Adam knew he had his most treasured gift besides the Lord himself.
Certainly that thought echoes in this section of Proverbs, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Celine Dion, the famous singer once said, "I have become a housewife and there is no better job." I am sure some would roll their eyes because she can afford a maid and nanny for her children. I read something the other day that quantified in terms of value all the tasks that are often traditionally done by the wife and mother. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a housewife's labor is worth upwards of $79,000 per year.
How do they break that down? The average annual salary of a private household cook is $28,000; a maid/housekeeper makes $18,000; a child care worker earns $18,000; a financial manager earns $57 per hour. If a housewife spends five hours per month on family finances (there is probably more than that), the yearly pay would add up to $3000 per year. A business consultant with five years experience makes $45 per hour. If you figure that the average wife spends five hours a week consulting with her husband about business, the annual income from that job would be $12,000. If kids are involved, the mother likely fulfills the roles of taxi driver and teacher. The list goes on! Besides that, how do you measure the worth of a mother who checks under the bed for the boogie man or hugs and cuddles a child when he is sad or scared? How do you measure her as best friend and lover and confidante? How do you measure the times she laughs with you and cries with you, and figures out family problems with you? How do you quantify the times she prays for you and with you? How do you quantify all the happiness she brings to you? No truer words have been written or spoken, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” The role of wife and mother is incredibly valuable and important.
Look at the duties that please the LORD as well as family. So what planet did Hilary Rosen come from when she said that Ann Romney “never really worked a day in her life” because she chose to stay home and raise her five sons? Hey, I come from a family of five boys. I know my four brothers didn’t make life easy for my mom. She was cleaning up after them all the time. The godly woman is a selfless woman. “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
I think many people think that Christians teach that women are to be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen all the time. That’s certainly not the woman who is described here. While these words were written at a different time – a thousand years before Christ, and times were different – she isn’t looking to her husband all the time to make decisions for her. Verse sixteen says, “She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.”
She is gifted by God and has intelligence and common sense. She doesn’t necessarily do everything with her husband’s permission. Why? Because her husband has confidence in her! Nor does she do things that are detrimental to her husband and family. But then the whole family is a team, isn’t it? Husband and wife are a team. Family is a team. It is not about me; it is about us. That’s the way God wants it to be.
Look at the godly woman’s ambition. Like I said earlier she is not a couch potato. “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar… She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.”
She does it with a great attitude. “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” That doesn’t go unnoticed by her family. “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” I hope all are dads and children use this day to say, “Thank you, Mom! You are a gift from God!”
She makes the home a refuge.
“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls…She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet…She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Her treasure is not the clothes she has, or the job outside the home. It is her family. The home that she is the center of, because that’s the way it is. She provides a place of encouragement and comfort and understanding and safety. It is a place everyone loves to come to. The family knows there is love in that home.
I have counseled a lot of marriages over the years, and this goes both ways. I have heard husbands criticize their wives; I have heard wives criticize their husbands. I have a wife who is my greatest encourager and I don’t hear discouraging words from her. Professionally, she is always there with the compliment. She didn’t even say anything to me the one time I did do wrong. Yet when couples come and the session is nothing but a criticism session, there have been times I have thought that if I were living in that house, I would make every excuse to stay away. That shouldn’t be. The apostle said our thoughts and our words should be in a better direction. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Luther said in his catechism said “Take someone’s words and actions in the kindest possible way.” That begins in the home, the place that needs to be a refuge.
Moms, children watch and children learn. My wife is so wonderful in so many respects. I think a lot of men ought to be envious of me that I am the only guy she gets to be married to her. She made sure our kids went to bed with the Lord every night. There were few nights when I was home because of the nature of church work. I always wondered if Kris, Ben and Courtney would ever go into the ministry because so much of my time was taken away from them. They all are involved. I know Judy spoke to them positively about it and made it happen. Judy is also one who taught them a million things among which is the proper stewardship of money. 10% of their jobs and allowance went to the Lord, 80% went into the bank; the other 10% they could spend. Our oldest once said to me, “Dad, do you know how you spell Mom?” She went on, “IRS.” They still talk to her about financial items. They want to save more. Mothers, treasure the opportunity to teach them. Children, listen to them and take their godly advice.
But there is something much more important. The writer says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Every now and then the Atlanta Journal-Constitution online will do pictures of movie stars then and now that proves that passage so correct.People can fake charm but the years can really change people. Life needs to go beyond the latest fads to stay looking young. There are matters of a lot more importance. It involves eternity and knowing Jesus and living Jesus and sharing Jesus. Not only for yourself but for those whom God has given you! Peter said in the epistle lesson that was chosen for today, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” What I just read would get boos and disses from the Hollywood woman whom far too many adore and admire even though they talk like sailors and go in and out of marriage like a revolving door. What Peter says about the godly woman doesn’t get anyone a star on the Walk of Fame, yet remember that such a woman “is of great worth in God’s sight.”
My mother died thirty three years ago. I don’t think there is a day that has passed since then on which I haven’t thought of her and what a blessing she was to my family– for her meekness, for her willingness to listen, for her great example of following Jesus even in death. I can’t thank her and dad enough for bringing me to the Baptismal fount, sending me to Sunday school and making sure that I was in church. They sacrificed for me so that I could be trained to stand before you. They introduced me to Jesus and taught me about Jesus. All the money in Fort Knox couldn’t be more valuable than that.
So, thank you, godly moms for all you have done! You deserve our thanks! You deserve our wows!