I discovered on Facebook that there is an organization called Proverbs 31 Ministries geared toward “today’s busy woman.” I’m a big fan of Proverbs 31. It inspires me to be do and accomplish all that I can with the abilities I have been given. So, I clicked the link to check them out.
This is one of the group’s seven principles of a Proverbs 31 woman from their Facebook page and website:
Loves, honors, and greatly enriches the life of her husband, encouraging and supporting his leadership within his family and his church.
Perhaps this group’s version of Proverbs is not the same one I have been reading all these years. The woman who inspires me is a leader in her own right. She is a real estate magnate, an expert in international business, a textiles tycoon, a vineyard owner, and a multinational entrepreneur. The Proverbs 31 woman who inspires me is not standing behind her husband while he does all these things. She does all these things of her own accord. Her ingenuity and initiative and assertive personality are what make her a valuable partner. She is not valuable because she is nothing more than a friendly, Father-Knows-Best housewife.
It dismays me that this strong and powerful woman in Proverbs 31 is used to encourage women to be shrinking violets, warm and fuzzy cheerleaders, behind the scenes encouragers… followers instead of leaders. If they want to develop principles of a Proverbs 31 woman, those principles should include being a strong leader and a powerful role model. Instead this group puts the woman in the support role instead of the leading role in her own life. Their version of the Proverbs 31 woman is the opposite of the woman portrayed in the passage.
Ladies if you want to really emulate the Proverbs 31 woman you need to get out of the house and do something spectacular. If your husband doesn’t approve then he’s not much of a Proverbs 31 man. The husband in Proverbs 31 is supportive and proud of his wife’s accomplishments, not threatened by them. I might even call them the model power couple — they are both living up to the talents they have been blessed with.
Below is the section of Proverbs 31 that talks about the woman that I am familiar with. You can read and decide for yourself what the real Proverbs 31 woman is like:
A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant,
she brings her food from far away.
She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the city gates,
taking his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchant with sashes.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
‘Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.