I realize I’m a little late for Mother’s Day, but as the saying goes, “better late than never.” For the past forty-some years, I have been amused by the predictable Scripture reading and/or sermon topic for Mother’s Day—Proverb 31. For those who are unfamiliar with this proverb, it is “The Wife of Noble Character.” The reading of Proverb 31 is an established Mother’s Day tradition in many churches. The proverb is basically advice to a young man about the qualities to look for when choosing a wife, although it doesn’t directly pertain to motherhood, per se. I suppose if a man finds a wife of noble character, one might expect motherhood to follow, although that assumption is not necessarily a given. Still, since the proverb is associated with womanhood, it makes an obvious choice for pastors who are stuck for what to preach on Mother’s Day.
But for many women, myself included, I sometimes get the feeling this proverb is a yardstick against which to measure my deficiencies in being a super-woman. I mean, really, who can live up to this woman’s standards? Let me give a few examples.
- The proverb starts out by saying a woman of noble character’s worth is far more than rubies. Okay, this applies to me. I can live with that.
- But then it goes on to say that she selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Well, let’s just say home economics was not one of my best subjects in school, and I can’t even sew a seam on the sewing machine without saying bad words. So, not me.
- She is like the merchant ships bringing food from afar. Does going to the commissary count? How about Walmart? It takes a good ten minutes to drive to either one. Plus, sometimes it can get downright dangerous wheeling a buggy through Walmart. Maybe me.
- She gets up while it is still dark and provides food for her family. Getting up before dark? I don’t think so. I am not a morning person. Besides, my family can pour their own cereal and make their own toast. So, again, not me.
- She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. If I attempted to plant a vineyard, it would die like the rest of my plants. Not me.
- Her lamp does not go out at night. My lamp has to go out at night if I want to get any sleep. Not me.
- When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. Okay, me! I have no fear of snow because I moved to Florida. Besides, the men in my house would never wear scarlet.
- She makes coverings for her bed. Nope, buy mine at the store. Not me.
- She makes linen garments and sells them. Refer back to # 2. Trust me, nobody would buy any linen garments I made. Not me.
- She can laugh at the days to come. The only way I can laugh at old age is if I have enough wrinkle cream, arthritis medication, and hair color. But I’m not sure if laughing is the way I would describe my old age. Probably not me.
- She does not eat the bread of idleness. Does binge-watching Castle count as idleness? How about playing Solitaire on the computer? Toss up.
- Her children arise and called her blessed. My children only call me when they want something. Not me. Sigh.
During Covid, our church recorded our service on Saturday afternoon to put on Facebook for Sunday morning, and there were only a handful of us to lead the worship service. One week, Hubby asked me to do the Scripture reading and prayer. Guess what the Scripture reading was? Yep, Proverb 31. I think he was trying to tell me something.