"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27 (ESV)
As a teen I loved hanging out at Miss Pat's house. Hands down, she made the best homemade noodles in the Midwest. Often you could find the creamy-white strips of flour, milk and eggs drying on her kitchen counter, waiting to be tossed in a simmering pot of chicken soup. Or you might find a fresh fruit pie cooling near an open window, making her family eager for suppertime.
Miss Pat took all aspects of her home life seriously. Her house wasn't perfect. Still, she kept it cute and clean and made it a haven for her own family and others.
With as much energy as Miss Pat devoted to homemaking, you might think that was all she did. But it wasn't. She was also active outside her home, including volunteering at her kids' school, teaching a weekly women's Bible study and serving as a youth group leader. Her love for Jesus was evident as she introduced numerous teens and women to Christ, including me.
However, she reserved her greatest energy and most creative ideas for her first line of ministry—her own family and home. Miss Pat modeled how to influence others for Christ not only with the words we speak, but also the heart with which we run our home.
Sitting around her kitchen table, I learned Miss Pat's secret for getting things done. She had a method for doing laundry ... a routine for her cleaning ... a game plan for getting groceries ... and a cheerful attitude while doing it all. In fact, now that I'm older, I think she modeled the Proverbs 31 woman very well.
Proverbs 31:27 tells us about an unnamed wife and mother (often referred to as the Proverbs 31 woman) who worked like this. "She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."
Now that I have my own home and family, I'm inspired by these women. Especially during those times I find it easier to be idle rather than tackle work around the home. The snapshots of organized spaces and fabulous foods on my computer screen tempt me to spend hours peering at them rather than doing them.
When running my home seems overwhelming, I remember Miss Pat and the Proverbs 31 woman. Instead of hoping the house cleans itself or a hot meal materializes out of the computer, I'm learning to make a plan and get to work. It's helpful to keep the mindset that it's a ministry to care for my home and family.
This perspective helps me pick up my son's socks and make dinner without frustration. It gives me strength when I've already put in a full day's work. While I am doing these things for my family, I'm also doing them for God.
There's no doubt that making our house a home, and all that involves, can be tiring. We need to balance true rest with work, while being on guard against laziness and resentful attitudes. Important questions to ask ourselves are: Am I laboring with a glad heart or do I grumble about the tasks at hand? Do I view keeping a home as a duty or drudgery, or do I find it a privilege and pleasure? Am I in need of rest, or am I putting off what has to be done because I just don't feel like doing it?
Being an intentional homemaker is a tough yet rewarding job. We get to serve important people—our very own families.
And the Boss? He's the best. What an honor it is to work for Him.
Dear Lord, teach me to look well to the ways of my household and not be idle, knowing it is actually You I am serving. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources: A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others by Karen Ehman
Reflect and Respond: What areas of work around the home are you hesitant to tackle?
How might knowing you are working for the Lord encourage you to work with more diligence?
Power Verses: Colossians 3:23-24, "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ." (HCSB)
© 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org