Your Life – On Mission
4. Mothers’ Day - A Woman of Value
Proverbs 31: 10 - 31
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heartache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren – yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising – we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
The Book of Proverbs helps us to grow in wisdom. Throughout Proverbs wisdom is often personified as a woman—so it’s fitting that the book ends by celebrating the hard working worshipping woman.
Proverbs 31: 10 - 31 is an acrostic. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the 22 verses begins with a different letter of the alphabet. This made it easier for people to memorize.
The writer remembers what his mom did for him. The influence of a mom is beyond measure. In the first 9 verses this mom tells her son to be morally pure. Then beginning in v. 10, she tells him what to look for in a woman.
This is a composite picture, not a “to-do” list. The writer is saying that from “A to Z” the ideal woman will reflect these qualities. Life Application Bible - “She may not be one woman at all—it may be a composite picture of ideal womanhood.” These words were designed to build up the worth of wives and to magnify mothers.
(Read v. 10 – 31)
A Woman’s Worth
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” It’s hard to estimate the worth of all the work that a woman does - as a housekeeper, cook, teacher, laundry, driver, manager, psychologist and more. Imagine if she were paid for all this. But the Bible says that it is impossible to put a monetary value on the virtuous woman. The word “virtuous” means moral strength and influence and refers to the “strength of an army.” The word “worth” speaks of price. Rubies were the most valuable of jewels, meaning that a woman is worth far more than the most expensive piece of jewelry ever made. What makes a gem priceless is because it is rare. The main point is this: “A good woman is not easy to find; but when found, she is of unimaginable worth.”
In light of the Hebrew acrostic, let’s use the first 3 letters of our alphabet as our outline. A wise woman practices her ABC’s. She Accomplishes a lot She Brings value to others She Cultivates inner beauty
1. She Accomplishes a Lot with her Hands
A teacher gave her class a lesson on the properties of magnets. The next day she gave her students a written test. The first question was: “My name begins with an “M.” I have 6 letters, and I pick up things. What am I?” When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was surprised to find that almost 50% of the students answered with the word, “Mother.” Moms do more than pick things up, but they sure do a lot of that. Let’s look at our passage to see how hard this woman works.
She works willingly v. 13b
This woman is willing to work and takes delight in her duties – v. 17, 22a, 24a, 27b.
She doesn’t sleep much v. 15a, v. 18b
I want to especially give a “shout-out” to those of you who are raising young children. Some of you are battling bedtimes and wondering when all the whining is going to stop. You’re juggling schedules and running on emotional “empty.” Take a deep breath right now and listen to these comforting words from the Lord in Isaiah 40: 11: “He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” May you know the sweet gentleness of the Shepherd as you love the little lambs in your life!
She provides for the poor v. 20
She is aware of the afflicted around her and shares what she has with them. This mom lives on mission first in her home and then in her community.
2. She Brings Value to Others using her Head
The letter “A” stands for accomplishes much. We could picture this with her hands. The letter “B” represents bringing value to others. Never once is this woman said to do anything just for herself – she seems to always be attentive to others. To help us remember, think of a woman’s head with its different parts – ears, mind, eyes and mouth.
Her husband is pleased v. 12
She uses her ears to listen to his concerns.
Her family’s needs are met v. 15b
v. 16 tells us that she buys a field in order to better feed her family. v. 27a - She engages her mind as she strategically follows a plan.
Her servants are cared for v. 15c
Her eyes notice the needs of her servants and she makes sure they are cared for.
She speaks words of wisdom v. 26
A mother’s tongue is to be tender and her words weighty.
G. Campbell Morgan, a profound British preacher whose 4 sons all became pastors, influenced millions with his sermons, teaching and writing. One day, when his young son Howard finished preaching, a reporter asked him, “Since you have 5 Pastors in your family who is the greatest preacher?” Expecting the son to give the honour to his father, Howard surprised the reporter by saying, “My Mother!”
A wise woman knows her ABC’s. First, she accomplishes a lot through her hands. Second, she brings value to others by using her head. Finally, and most importantly, she cultivates her inner beauty with a holy heart. In fact, it’s out of a holy heart that her head and her hands find their foundation.
C. She Cultivates Inner Beauty in her Heart v. 30
It’s a wise woman who knows that true beauty comes from a holy heart. Her identity comes from an inner encounter with the Almighty. The real issue is not her looks but how she looks to the Lord. The word “deceptive” means a “sham.” It’s not the real “you” anyway. If you focus only on the outward you’ll find it to be fleeting. It will leave you feeling unsatisfactory and empty. In fact, true beauty comes from the inside, which lights up the outside.
Essentially we have 2 choices – we can fear how we look on the outside and spend all our time trying to make ourselves look better or we can fear God and allow Him to make us better on the inside. The real fear should be that we might displease God not that we might displease someone else.
Let me add one other thought. When women cultivate a holy heart that worships a holy God, they realise that their purpose and mission is wrapped up in their identity as a daughter of the King. This reminds me of the main focus of the Book of Esther where we learn that: “Our position is a platform for God’s purposes.” If you’re a mom, being a mother is your primary mission and ministry! Once your heart is holy, your head will be in the game and your hands will work heartily as unto the Lord.
Giving Praise Where it is Due
It’s time for us to honour all women today – v. 28, 29. We’re called to congratulate and celebrate the worth of women and the women of worth. Children and husbands are to publicly praise the woman in their life. Our words of thankfulness can help the women in our lives feel the worth that is theirs.
I am Exhibit A for the truth of Proverbs 18: 22: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.”
Proverbs 31: 11, 12: “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
In the spirit of children rising and blessing their moms and husbands providing honour to their wives, I’d like all women to remain seated while the rest of us stand. With loud voices, let’s offer these words of encouragement to the wonder women here today: You’re blessed and you’re the best! Let’s say that again. You’re blessed and you’re the best!