“How much is your allowance?” My snobby 12-year-old neighborhood friend asked me. She was at it again. Always trying to one-up me.
She didn’t have any siblings and I had seven. Take a quick guess at whose allowance was bigger.
I stood there brainstorming for a good comeback. I was in a perpetual state of competition with this girl. How was I going to tell her that I actually didn’t get any allowance money.
“Well..” I slowly said. Then I had it. With my chin raised I delivered my speech. “My parents don’t give me an allowance because they say when I grow up to be an adult nobody is going to give me free handouts. I do chores at home because I’m a part of the family and we all help each other out. That’s how families should work.”
Stunned. She didn’t have anything to say.
That was that.
Thankfully I’ve learned how to be more tactful since then. Most of the time. Seriously though, my parents didn’t give me or my siblings an allowance as kids. They taught us to work hard for the benefit and good of the entire family.
Nobody was going to pay me for washing my own dishes in the future…so why should they? That was their thinking. I was allowed to do “extra” chores to earn money, but the basic chores came as a requirement as contributing members in the family.
My parents were instilling hard work ethics in me from a young age. They knew real life was hard and wanted to prepare me in small ways. And I’m really grateful they did.
Work was God’s idea.
Working hard was God’s idea from the beginning. In fact, He introduced the idea of “work” before sin came into the world. Right after God created Adam, He put him in the garden and told him to take care of it. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (2:15).”
Next God gave Adam the hard job of naming all of the animals (Gen. 2:19). Can you imagine how long that must have taken? “I’ll call you…hmmmm…anteater. Perfect.” Adam lived in a perfect world where hard work was central to his existence.
Then, after Eve was created God said to both of them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
Adam and Eve were given dominion over the entire earth and called to work hard on the land.
Men and women are both called to work hard.
From the beginning of time God created men and women to be hard workers. He created you and me to be hard workers too.
Throughout the Bible we see glimpses of women doing all sorts of hard work. We see everything from a shepherdess (Rachel), midwives (Shiprah and Puah), tentmaker (Priscilla), field worker (Ruth), seller of purple (Lydia), and others.
The Bible is clearly on board with women doing a variety of hard work.
And so are we. These women worked very hard…probably harder than most of us will ever work.
Our modern culture also encourages women to be ambitious and hard working. However, our culture encourages us to work hard for very different reasons. The purpose and motivation for hard working women in the Bible was very different than most modern women today.
Almost without exception, the godly hard working women of the Bible worked hard for two reasons:
1. To glorify God.
2. To serve their families.
Their purpose for working hard wasn’t to exalt themselves. It wasn’t to hang their achievements on a wall. It wasn’t about becoming “something.” It was rooted in serving others.
It was centered around loving their families.
Sadly, our culture encourages us to be a very different kind of hard working woman. They encourage us to “get out there and work” so we can build our independence. Become self sufficient. Advance our name. Further our personal career. Make it to the top.
The motivation to be a hard working woman is now focused on something different. Self.
Be an ambitious woman for the right reasons.
The Proverbs 31 woman is the poster child for the go-getter woman. Although she never really existed, her example was written in the Bible to show every reader what a God-Defined woman should look like.
Mrs. Proverbs 31 was one ambitious gal! Just reading about her makes me dizzy. She was smart, industrious, business savvy, wise, loving, generous, talented, etc. etc. etc. To name a few. She worked hard from sunrise to sunset and long into the night.
She’s an incredible example to us of a hard working woman.
She worked inside the home and outside the home doing various tasks. However, her work had very little to do with her.
As you read Proverbs 31 you quickly see why she worked so hard. Everything she did was for one purpose. To bless and serve her family. To bring honor to God. Everything she did was centered around being a godly wife, mother and excellent homemaker. Her family and home were truly the center of her focus.
Her work wasn’t about her. It wasn’t about her career. It wasn’t about her independence. It was about honoring God and loving her family.
We need to take serious notice of the godly women in the Bible.
Most Christian girls say they “admire” the Proverbs 31 woman, but very few work hard to become like her. As women, we will never glorify God in our work if it’s all about us. We need to be smart about what we do. We need to plan ahead. We need to prepare now to become hard working, others focused, gospel centered, Christ honoring women.
Do you work hard?
Are you a hard working ambitious woman? If so, what is your motivation for working hard? What is your motivation for getting an education? Are you advancing your personal skills for the purpose of advancing your own name?
I pray whatever you do now and in the future will be centered around hard work.
Not hard work for yourself though. Hard work for the sake of honoring God and blessing those around you.
If God blesses you with marriage someday, I pray you will be a hard working wife. I pray you will bless your husband with many skills and talents as the Proverbs 31 woman did. I pray you will serve him and work hard to make your home a priority.
If God blesses you even further with children, I pray you will be a hard working mom. A mom whose focus and purpose for working is founded on loving and serving her family. A mom who nurtures and loves the lives inside her home before she pursues anything else. I pray you will become a mom who faithfully teaches your children about God.
Do we like hard working women?
I think you know the answer to that question. Yes. Yes. Yes! We love hard working women because God loves them. Being hard workers was part of God’s design for us.
As I close this post, I can’t encourage you enough to seriously evaluate what you’re doing in your life right now. Ask yourself why you’re doing it. What is your long term goal? Does it align with God’s version of a successful, hard working woman?
Are you working hard for your own name or for God’s glory? Are you investing energy and time in your family? Will your current pursuits set you up to be a godly woman like Mrs. Proverbs 31? Will your future husband and children rise up and call you blessed? I hope so!
The work you do is extremely important. So make sure it has eternal value.
PS: I know this blog might bring up a lot of questions in your mind about women and work. I can’t address everything in one short blog post, so please ask your questions in the comment section below.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | Robert Bejil Productions