I had to laugh out loud the day I read a Facebook status post declaring a revelation concerning the success of the Proverbs 31 woman. She had servants!
Most of us these days don’t have the privilege of having servants, unless, of course, we consider using our children as slave labor. But, somehow that just doesn’t seem to work like we might hope it would! So, since we don’t have the blessing of servants, does that mean we are excused? That we don’t have to live up to the Proverbs 31 expectation because there’s just no way to do it all ourselves? As much as I would love that excuse, I don’t think we have it. But, I think there’s something for us to learn from the idea of this woman managing her servants well.
Now, let me qualify my argument in advance by stating that I do not at all equate my sisters in Christ as my servants. Never! Having said that, however, hear my argument from the perspective of Jesus’ example in serving His disciples and then commanding them to do the same for one another.
What if the key to being a successful P31 woman truly does lie in our ability to manage the service of others while also offering ourselves in servitude?
All of my life I have struggled with receiving help from others. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, I hate to burden anyone else. I just don’t want to do it! If I accept help or, even worse, actually ask for it, am I not adding to their load? I want to help others, not increase their burden.
Then there’s the reason I hate to confess. It’s pride. If I receive or seek help, then I am admitting weakness. I am confessing to an inability to do it myself. I am so afraid of seeming incapable that I actually set myself up to fail by not allowing assistance.
Finally there’s the fact of my oblivion. Sometimes I just don’t see past my own inabilities to see that there are actually people who are capable where I am not. There are people who actually enjoy some of the very things I struggle with. But, because that concept is so foreign to me, I don’t even think to seek help in those areas.
All of it boils down to this: I do not manage the Christ-like service of my fellow believers well.
On the flip side of the issue, I also don’t intentionally put myself out there well to be a servant to them, either. Just as we don’t want to impose on anyone else to help fill our needs, we also don’t want to invade their lives. We don’t want to indicate that we think they are incapable, and we don’t want to invade their privacy. So, we don’t offer ourselves as servants.
The New Testament is filled to the brim with instructions regarding our interactions with one another as the body of Christ. We are to love and serve one another, and the world is to see that we belong to Jesus Christ because of that service and love. But if we do not know how to both be servants and receive the service of others, how can we truly live out the Christian life?
Yes, the Proverbs 31 woman had servants. But, more than that, she knew how to handle them. May we learn from her and truly stand together to serve and be served. And in doing so, may we continually become more and more successful as women of God.