An excellent wife
The book of Proverbs ends with a tribute to an excellent wife.
 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
I have heard a lot of sermons on this passage, often on Mother’s Day. For a long time I didn’t pay much attention to these sermons because I felt they didn’t apply to me. Recently I have come to realize that passages like this do apply to me because one of the purposes of marriage is to show the relationship between God and those who worship him. In the Old Testament, Israel is called the wife of God. In the New, the church is called the bride of Christ. You can learn more about these relationships here:
If you are a Christian, whether your are a man or a woman, whether you are married or single, this description of an excellent wife is a pattern you need to follow in your own life.
Her most obvious characteristic is that she doesn’t live a life of idleness but is constantly engaged in work, both for the welfare of her family and to help the poor and needy. Salvation is not the result of anything we do but is a free gift from God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
However one of the reasons we are saved is to carry out the work God have given us.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
If you think you are a Christian but aren’t actively serving him and don’t have any desire to do so perhaps you should follow the advice of 2 Corinthians 13:5:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.
The main purpose of a wife’s work is found in verse 23, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.” A wife’s lifestyle can influence people’s opinion of her husband. Many people form their opinion of Christ on how his people live. We have an obligation to share our knowledge of Christ with others so they will want to follow him too, and we aren’t likely to do that effectively if the way we live contradicts the words we say about him.