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An Excellent Wife - The Value of Hard Work and of Rest

An Excellent Wife – The Value of Hard Work {and of Rest} – Proverbs 31:18

She’s a gardener. She’s physically fit. She does her husband good and not harm. She’s amazing, this Proverbs 31 woman!

An Excellent Wife - The Value of Hard Work and of Rest

Today we’re taking a look at Proverbs 31:18.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.

I’ll confess I had to read a few commentaries on this verse before I wrote this post. What does it mean that “she perceives her merchandise is profitable?”

I like what the Pulpit Commentary has to say.

Her prudence and economy leave her with a large surplus profit, which she contemplates with satisfaction. There is no suspicion of arrogance or conceit. The pleasure that is derived from duty done and successfully conducted business is legitimate and healthy, a providential reward of good works.

What can we take away from this? Our heroine knows the value of hard work. As we have seen before in Proverbs 31, the excellent wife is not lazy. She works hard, and she enjoys the rewards of her hard work. She does her work, whether it’s inside or outside the home, to the best of her ability. She would never be accused of doing a shoddy job because of laziness.

The second half of verse 18 seems to echo that sentiment.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

This implies that she works well into the night. If there is work left to be done, she does it.

I have to offer some caution here though. I do not believe this verse means that women are to work themselves to the point of exhaustion. If we read the Bible in it’s entirety, we can see that God places a high value on getting enough rest.

Proverbs 31:18

In the ten commandments, God tells us to set aside a day of rest. God himself rested on the seventh day of creation. Yes, working hard…working to the best of our ability…is important, but it’s important also to know when to stop and rest.

I don’t know about you, but when I stand back and “perceive my work is profitable,” it’s usually right before I stop working for the day. I take a moment to reflect on what I have accomplished. I may make a mental note of things I need to do tomorrow. And then I rest.

So what can we learn from this? When you’re working, work hard. Parent to the best of your ability. When you’re cleaning house, do your best work. If you work an outside job, give it your all. Don’t be lazy while you’re working.

But when your work is finished for the day? Rest. Recharge. Don’t burn yourself out. Take satisfaction in a job well done, but let the job be DONE. If you work too hard, your ability to do your best work day in and day out will be compromised. Rest has it’s proper place in your life. Make time for it.

Do you take pleasure in hard work? Do you take time to rest? Make sure you’re doing both this week.

New here? The Proverbs 31 series starts here.

And here is where you will find the next post in the series.

  • Yvonne

    Great post, Lynnae. I once had an older, wiser friend tell me that Proverbs 31 is a collection of traits to grow into, but we will never be all of it at one time. That was such a relief to my perfectionist self! I love to work hard, and I’ve learned to create rest for myself as well. God is so good.

    • Lynnae McCoy

      That’s exactly it, Yvonne. Proverbs 31 is important to study, as it shows us how we can grow. But no woman can be all of these things at once.