SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
The Wise Woman Who Serves the Lord Deserves Our Praise
Key Verse: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30
King Lemuel was a blessed man – if he found the sort of wife his mother wanted him to choose! However, he may have looked for years in vain. The wife described in Proverbs 31 is no ordinary woman. We can only hope the king found such a prize to become his bride.
This poetic description of a wise or worthy wife gives us a chance today to celebrate the qualities that make a Christian woman worthy of the praise of her family and her friends. I add the word “Christian” because that is the perspective from which we should study the Book of Proverbs. We are, after all, on the other side of the Cross from the king’s mother. Thus we may amend verse 30 to have it read, “a woman who fears the Lord Jesus Christ is to be praised.”
This is where the Christian woman begins – with reverence for her Lord Jesus Christ. All her praiseworthy attitudes are chosen out of a desire to serve her Lord. She works diligently and eagerly for one reason – to honor Christ. In fact, everything she does is not to feather her own nest but to help others – and this out of love for Christ.
Some women jabber endlessly about their good deeds – how much they are doing for others. The wise Christian woman does not sing her own praises. She serves quietly, humbly, allowing her husband, her children, and other sing her praises. Alexander Maclaren aptly says, “It is well when our deeds are the trumpeters of our fame.”
The king’s mother pictures the wise woman as one who “speaks with wisdom.” Self-praise is detestable. The woman who is wise always has “kindness” or “faithful instruction” on her tongue. An automobile dealer boasts that he “lets his customers do the talking.” The worthy wife will let her deeds do the talking. That allows her works to “bring her praise at the city gate.”
In my mature years I began to realize that my mother was a wise Christian woman, and I had the good fortune to marry such a woman. My mother worked hard, from sunrise till dark, but she never complained of “having” to work. She worked willingly, and unselfishly, to meet the needs of her family. She gladly ignored her personal desires in order to devote herself fully to the needs of her husband and her children.
Mom watched over the affairs of her home like a mother hen, and we never saw her “eat the bread of idleness.” Indeed she taught her children, by precept and example, the Protestant ethic of hard work! I realize now that she was indeed the glue that held our family together through thick and thin.
My wife has been like that – unselfishly working her fingers “to the bone” to make ends meet when the children were growing up and making me grateful that she always put the family first. Her sons may not know it, but I know it, and God knows it, that she “did without” a hundred times so that her boys could have what they needed. Even today she will buy clothes from a consignment shop so that she can have more money to give to the missionaries we support.
I will gladly testify that my wife is “worth far more than rubies” and I do have “full confidence in her.” To say that she has brought me “good, not harm, all the days of her life” is an understatement!
Both my mom and my wife were wise when it came to charm and beauty. God rewarded them for seeking the beauty that does not fade; He gave them that inner beauty that comes to women who put Christ first by serving others with compassion and unselfishness.
Young men would be wise to seek such a wife as the mother of King Lemuel wanted her son to marry. Young women would be wise to cultivate those qualities that make a home a place of peace and Christlike love –the kind of home that makes folks want to take off their shoes and stay awhile. The Christian woman who serves Christ by seeking such a life is wise and worthy, and most deserving of our praise. Her deeds will become the trumpeters of her fame. Even more important, she will have the gift of inner peace – and be at peace with God.
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