While it could be very easy to look at these couple of verses and conclude that God wants women to work outside the home and have careers, I think it would be profitable to look closer. Why of all things does the excellent woman seek after wool and flax? Well, both materials are used for clothing. Flax has a number of other uses including being an ingredient in medicine and food. She seeks for and works with these materials to take care of her family.
Just as a wife expects her husband to consider her in everything he does, so the wife should consider him. Her husband is the whole reason why the virtuous woman works in the first place. It is absolutely not because of her selfish aspirations. She is tied to her family, not her job. That means that if she had to, she’d walk away from everything – the years of education, the time used to train, the promotions – if it came between her and her family.
The goal in verse 14 is taking care of her family. Work is just a means to do that. Both of these verses describe a woman who is willing and determined. She understands that the goal is not necessarily her satisfaction. It is not about her career or her “me time.”
More evidence of this follows in verse 15. Her ultimate goal is taking care of her family. One can tell that she is determined because she gets up early in order to do it! Matthew Henry commentates, “Those that have a family to take care of should not love their bed too well in a morning.”
I think what’s so cool about this is that women have so many responsibilities. I am excited that God pushes us to do so much. Our families rely on us.
Now if anyone knows me at all, they know that I LOVE my sleep. I do know now after reading these verses that I choose it over the work that God is calling me to. I believe it is because I still don’t have the biblical goal of my family. Think about it. Sleeping in (not generally sleeping, but sleeping in) is selfish. It is lazy and cannot benefit anyone (even you, because you know with more than eight hours of sleep, you are just as tired as when you went to bed).
Again, single ladies cannot get out of this just because they do not have a family right now to take care of. You are to be preparing. Everything you do, do it for God first and your future family second. It does not matter if it is you education, career, dating life, etc.
This is so different from what our culture says is important. Culture says that every move we make as women should be dictated by how it affects us personally. School is to better my career and to find myself. When I make time, I will marry but the man must bend around my life. He cannot ask me to change myself. We’ll get to kids when I am ready to take off of work.
However, when I get out of the spotlight and my priorities become God first and family second, my course of action changes drastically.
Today’s verses are really challenging me. I pray that God will convict our hearts and rid us of our selfish ways.