Week four of our Proverbs 31 study, and it’s a real challenge for some of us. Last week, Rachel looked at how this woman provided food for her family, like the merchant ships. It’s a great post, so do pop over and catch up.
This week, we’ve been looking at verse 15:
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
What does it mean?
Well, are you a night owl or a lark? I have to say, I’m a lark myself – pretty good first thing in the morning, but terrible after about 9pm!
There is a Biblical truth to getting up early – Jesus got up very early in the morning and went to pray. Lots of people, myself included, like to have a quiet time with God first thing in the morning. It sets that day right.
But is this an expectation? Do we really have to be up at 5am (or even earlier) to be a good Christian woman?
Let’s look at the rest of the verse. ‘She provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.’
Quite simply, in Biblical times, if you wanted to provide food for your family, you had to get up early. There were no refrigerators, toasters or microwaves. Grain had to be ground, bread had to be made, and animals had to be tended to. This woman isn’t getting up early because of some outward sense of obligation – but from a sense that it was necessary.
The verse also tells us that she ‘portions for her female servants.’ For us in our Mummy Meditations community, this was really crucial to our understanding of this verse. She takes care of her employees – her servants. This may mean that she assigns tasks for them, but probably also means that she makes sure they have everything they need. There’s almost a role reversal here, and it makes us think about how we care for our employees or those who volunteer.
How does it apply to us?
Well, one of the first things we agreed in our Mummy Meditations group is that it does NOT mean that we must get up early! While there is a real value in dedicating early morning time to a quiet time, it doesn’t work for everyone.
However, the key to this verse is about time and preparation. The Proverbs 31 woman sets aside time to prepare food for her family and to organise her servants. In fact, The Message translation reads, “She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.” This isn’t about being up at 5am; it’s about being prepared.
I know we all think about this as mums. We check the calendars, check the school letters, pack the lunches, meal plan, make lists… When something goes wrong (often because we’re trying to do too much), we blame ourselves and think about how we could have done better.
Sometimes, we need to think about the female ‘servants’ in this verse. I’m not suggesting we start employing servants, but I do think we could learn about delegation, and asking for help when we need it. I frequently say that when I was teaching full time, we employed a cleaner, once a fortnight, and it was the one thing that kept me sane. The same can be said of the Asda delivery driver, the babysitter, the after school club or nursery workers. When we are so busy, we need to make the most of these people, but we also need to take care of them.
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that organising and running a home is godly. It’s easy to think we should shoulder all the burden. But actually, part of organisation and preparation is delegating and working out who can help you with your work.
Rachel will be looking at verse 16, which I think is a really exciting verse:
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
Do come and join us in the Mummy Meditations Community and join the discussion!