Christian Living | Motherhood

What the Proverbs 31 Woman Teaches Us About Productivity

June 27, 2017

Just a few posts ago I highlighted 15 Proverbs outside Chapter 31 that speak to the way of a woman. And yet, I felt the need to return to the beautiful final chapter, and look more closely at the Biblical woman we all dearly esteem.

When we consider the Proverbs 31 woman’s extensive, honorable track record, it’s easy to become lost in what she did as opposed to how she did it all.

The reason her life appears to be such a high standard, one that many of us secretly doubt we can reach, is because we are viewing her through the wrong lens. 

We think the Biblical woman is defined by her productivity. 

I know for myself that I often read the passage in awe of her ability—she’s sewing, preparing food, surveying fields, selling at the market, teaching her children, etc.—and with each task I feel the burden to do the same, and to do so perfectly.

Sister, if all we take away from Proverbs 31 is a comprehensive list of homemaking tasks to perfect, we’ve missed the most precious jewel to be found.

Today’s productivity-driven culture often has us thinking backward, even when studying this portion of Scripture. How so?

The Proverbs 31 woman is not godly because she is productive, but productive because she is godly. 

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:31

Her trust in the Lord is the at the root of everything she does, inspiring her to serve with joy.

Her God-fearing attitude leads her actions, not the other way around.

On the other hand, when we make productivity the idol—doing it all without reflecting on Who we’re are doing it for, discouragement or weariness is inevitable.

In my own homemaking, I’ve realized how easy it is to slip into a to-do list mindset, where the duties of the day overrule all else. My responsibilities become burdens instead of joys, because I prioritize them over my relationship with God.

What is the point of becoming the best cook, laundry guru, or organization queen if we do so in a complaining spirit, or with an frustrated heart? Such striving only leads to bitterness and emptiness.

Instead of clinging to the goal of perfection, we need to cling to the grace of Christ, letting the beautiful joy of His salvation lead us each day—even if all the dishes aren’t clean.

Good homemaking is born out of a godly attitude. Click To Tweet

We need to abide in Jesus, making our motivation pleasing Him and not ourselves.

We can only be excellent like the Proverbs 31 woman when we surrender to God each day, seeking to glorify Him above everything else.

Below are snapshots from Proverbs 31 that showcase her beautiful heart. Keep in mind that all these admirable qualities come from faith, not merit:

She is motivated, cheerfully obeying God’s will.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. Proverbs 31:13

She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

She is thoughtful, dedicated to those God has given her.

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household, and portions for her maidens. Proverbs 31:15

She is resilient, resting in the power of her God.

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Proverbs 31:20

She is generous, sharing God’s provision and compassion.

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20

She is fearless, trusting in God’s sovereignty and goodness.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. Proverbs 31:25

She is considerate, showing godly patience and discernment with others.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

  1. I love how you turned the attention from the woman to who the woman serves. If it is not to be for God’s glory, then what glory is there really to be had at all? I have not ever looked at it from this perspective of why and how she is doing all of these things. Oh how easy it is to feel like I could never measure up to all that a Proverbs 31 woman is or what she does. BUT it puts a whole other light on her when we take a deeper look!

    1. Amen, our aim should always be His glory! It is only because she serves an amazing God that she is empowered to live life so fully. Thank you for reading, Sammi!

  2. Mind-blowing! I have never thought of the Proverbs 31 woman as being productive. That makes so much sense. I always knew that I would not reach her standard of living, but I could if I truly paid attention to how I plan out my days. Thank you!

    1. Being productive is a sweet result of her joy in the Lord! The key is treasuring Christ above all, and He will equip us to serve Him according to His will! When we seek to glorify Him, all falls into place. Reminds me of Matthew 6:33

    1. It is super inspiring! Sometimes we can get discouraged or feel the pressure to be able to do everything she does, but we simply need to follow her example of faith and keep our eyes on Jesus. He will help us make a godly and fruitful home through the wisdom of His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts! 🙂

  3. I love Proverbs 31, – read it many, MANY times but never looked at it this way. Thank you for this perspective. It makes it much easier to understand how a woman is able to consistently lived her life this way.

    1. Her life is so remarkable, because of her remarkable faith. May we never forget that! Thank you for stopping by Jessica! 🙂

  4. Thank you for this reminder to keep our minds and hearts focused on Christ, rather than be overwhelmed by the example set in Proverbs 31. You’re right: we often focus on the work of her hands and overlook the state of her heart. Thanks for the fresh perspective!

  5. Love this perspective that our productivity comes from God and His character and with this truth, we are no longer doing it in our own power. What a great reminder because I know I cannot do this thing on my own and need to tap into His unlimited resources. Glad I found you on the S&L Linkup. Great post, thank you!

  6. I like the way that you have put this, if we don’t keep God our focus, our lives become a to do list with jobs jumping in front of each other, shoving each other around and others not wanting to get done! I found you from your comment on Denise Renae’s post about her supernatural childbirth experience. I also found the book God’s Plan for Pregnancy by Nerida Walker really good and listened to some of her talks on youtube. It really helped me through a pregnancy and I was able to have a very complicated but pain free delivery. I’ve written about it on my blog

    1. Exactly Lizzy – God has to be our focus, or else our work can become overwhelming and be done in vain. Wow, I will have to check out your blog and that book. Thank you for the reminder and for visiting!

  7. Dani- I LOVE this, the way you point to CHRIST! Goodness, what a great resource. Your writing style is superb, I can’t wait to learn more from you!

    1. Emily – thank you for such kind words! Praise the Lord this was encouraging to you. My hope is always to point to the wonderful freedom we have in Jesus in everything! Looking forward to exploring your blog 🙂

  8. This post and the book I picked up yesterday in Target – “Grace, Not Perfection” – are both confirmations for me.

    I had been moving full speed ahead with my blog. I do believe God wants me to use my writing skills to glorify Him, but on His schedule; His timing is perfect. I’ve been rushing things and I’ve only recently realized these past two days.

    Thanks for sharing this! This was helpful for me to read. I can get so caught up with “being productive” that I put God on the back burner when He should be at the core of all that I do.

    1. Hi Brianna! Praise the Lord that this post was an encouragement to you. In our modern times blogging is definitely a wonderful way to serve Christ through writing! It can take much work to get started, but if you are prayerful, diligent, and faithful to God’s Word it can flourish. I suggest you check out this post I wrote somewhat recently – which shares a little but about how I got started, some advice, and a few other bloggers who are writing for His glory.

      Also, if you haven’t seen it already, I highly encourage you to join this Christian Women Bloggers Facebook Group called “By His Grace Bloggers” – it has been so helpful for me.

      Thank you for visiting and praying for you! 🙂

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