by Gina L.
from Virtuous Daughters, September 2016~Volume 16, Number 6
"Panning for Gold" Proverbs 31 Study Series Part 6
When I was a child, I remember many children whose mothers were sleeping when they left for school in the morning. Not my mom! She was up fixing me and my brothers breakfast (Cream of Wheat, soft boiled eggs and such) and we also had a time of prayer together before we headed off to school. As we got to be older teenagers with differing morning schedules, we often fixed our own breakfast (there was always something on hand) while our mother cared for our new little siblings, but we still had our daily time of prayer before leaving for the school day. Proverbs 31:15 says the Virtuous Woman riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. My mom did indeed rise in the early morning and gave us food throughout our life—physical food and also spiritual nourishment as well.
Clearly, a desirable, praiseworthy characteristic of the Virtuous Woman is one who is up early fixing her family breakfast. There are many seasons of a woman’s life—a young girl, a young lady, a married woman, a mother with a nursing baby, a mother with teens or young adults, and many others. Obviously this virtue may look different in different seasons, and we do well to remember to seek God as we apply His Word to our lives. Also there may be appropriate times to share the morning breakfast duty with others in the household. I know a large family with a daughter who enjoyed making her family breakfast and loved to share recipes with my daughter. She is a Virtuous Woman in the making and already has one characteristic tucked comfortably in her apron pocket to share and shine for Him. I also know another large family where the oldest son is currently the breakfast crew chief. He can make some good gluten-free pancakes, too! Whatever the season, the Virtuous Woman sees that the family is provided for. This actually implies an element of planning and forethought as well, for even if she rose early to prepare breakfast, all would be vain if she didn’t have the ingredients on hand. Also, notice what is not said. It doesn’t mention elaborate preparations or extensive variety or even imply that it is always everyone’s favorite breakfast, although she certainly takes nutritional value and family preferences into account, and definitely the desire of her husband in this area.
While the predominant idea in Proverbs 31:15 is physical food, we also realize man doesn’t live by bread alone, hence it is wise to remember that providing spiritual food is essential as well. Jesus called doing the Father’s will “meat” to eat that the disciples didn’t know of in John 4. But how often are we to feed them this spiritual meat? Deuteronomy 6:9 says we should teach the Word to our children and talk about it when we sit in our house and when we walk by the way and when we lie down and when we rise up. Here we see that just like children need more than one big meal a day to satisfy physical hunger and to grow, likewise they need spiritual food throughout the day. We teach precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little. Doesn’t that remind you of feeding your family…..here a little and there a little? Sometimes it seems that they are like little birds, always hungry. Three meals and little snacks spread throughout the day is the way they naturally like to eat. Interestingly, that also appears to mirror the way God tells us to feed them spiritually—little by little throughout the whole day.
It can be overwhelming to look at this Proverbs 31 Virtuous Woman with all her characteristics of virtue and then look at our own lives with our shortcomings and failures. It is a good thing that God saw fit to not have our works have any part in our salvation. Thank God Jesus did it all! We must remember, though, that God’s grace is indeed sufficient for us, and in fact His strength is made perfect in weakness. It seems like a paradox, but when we are weak, then we are strong, for we see the source of our strength is not in us at all, but Him (I Corinthians 12:9-10). The truth is that you may have developed or will develop many of the characteristics of the Virtuous Woman, but probably not all in equal quantities. Some strengths will be predominant or more developed, and throughout your lifetime you will have the opportunity to grow and add new skills if you are teachable and willing to work and learn. Often I see women with strengths in areas that are not mine, and as I come to know them, I appreciate their ability, and I can see a tangible example of what that virtue looks like. God provides this as a good way for me to grow, and He will give you tangible examples as well, if you are observant and if you desire to choose your friends wisely.
The Virtuous Woman indeed rises and prepares food for her family’s breakfast, caring for them and all in the household, and she also gives them lunch and dinner as well. In like manner, look well to feeding your family spiritually early and often throughout the day as you weave a tapestry, one word and one meal at time into the lives of your family, for such does the Virtuous Woman.
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