Summary: After much sorrow, painful meditations and many prayers, I undertake an unpleasant task: a eulogy on the death of a virtuous woman.
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
After much sorrow, painful meditations and many prayers, I undertake an unpleasant task: a eulogy on the death of a virtuous woman.
The task is made more difficult and saddening by the knowledge that there are so few of her kind left. She was different from most women in so many ways. Of course, that is true of all who seek to please God: few enter into the strait and narrow way (Matthew 7:13).
Since she is in so many points different from most others, to write in her praise has its risks. The majority who read this may be offended. I may anger some by praising qualities that many feel are out-dated and even demeaning. But being compelled by God and her memory to tell the whole truth, I write on.
What can be said of her? She was among the rare and declining sort of woman to whom the "traditional role" was an honorable vocation. She was scandalized when a younger woman complained of being "just a housewife," for she knew by whatever name her occupation was God-given, highly responsible, and immensely important. She held her head high in any company.
Sometimes others would speak down to her, saying she "didn’t have to go to work" like they did. She would agree with quick wit: "How true.
My work comes to me every day."
And truly, she labored abundantly in her home (Titus 2:5). To her with a heart in heaven (Matthew 19:21) and a mind on what is truly important work at home was not just a set of exasperating chores that lasted from dawn until dusk. She "guided" her house (1 Timothy 4:15), a vocation she approached with perseverance, calm wisdom and quiet speech. She knew her life was more than mopping floors, cooking meals and making beds. She also had to train her children, teach the younger women (Titus 2:4) and labor in the gospel in any other ways that she could (Philippians 4:3). Nevertheless; she tended these "homely" jobs with full care and enthusiasm as well.
While many seemed to think that keeping the house in order was hopeless ("cleanliness is next to impossible"), she was assured that what God had commanded, He would give strength and wisdom to perform.
She loved her children. She could never understand the modern notion that children mainly just got in the way of better career opportunities. She could imagine no greater and fulfilling occupation than raising up children for God. Only the ignorant might call her unambitious. Her goal for her children, the salvation of their eternal souls, was the greatest ambition that any parent could have.
She epitomized the word hospitality (Romans 12:13). Everyone felt welcome in her house. However, she never had the finest of dining room furniture, no ostentatious china, no silverware that was truly silver (not even plated). But, under her guiding hand, her home was always a comfortable and inviting place to be. Few guests were so shallow as to disdain her lack of finery.
Though her appearance was pleasant, she was never anything of a "beauty", at least, not in the way the world sees it. Her appearance was modest in every way (1 Timothy 2:9). She would never use fine clothes, sparkling jewelry or makeup to draw undo attention to herself. But her outward appearance always reflected the beauty of character that all who knew her saw clearly. The "ornament of a meek and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4) was to her the best jewelry and makeup she could possibly wear.
She was highly loved for she was genuinely kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). She seemed always to find a kind word about most everybody. Failing that, when the evil deeds of others were brought to light, she would only remind her children, "our works will follow us" (Romans 2:6; Revelation 14:13). Even so, she never stooped to gossip (1 Timothy 5:13), a common practice of men and women these days.
She sought a place at her husband’s side that brought honor to him (Proverbs 31:11, 12, 23; 1 Corinthians 11:3-5). Most today consider this to be degrading and cheapening. Her very existence was an affront to those determined to have "equality" in the home and on the job. But her heart was elsewhere. She put into practice the words of Jesus, "whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant" (Matthew 20:26, NIV). Like all good Christians, she sought opportunities to serve, not rule.
So she honored her husband and was not embarrassed to obey him (Titus 2:5). Her conversation around him or about him was circumspect. She did not take part in the "husband-bashing" that is so common today.
Not surprisingly, this honor she gave so freely came back to herself. Her children and her husband held her in the highest esteem (Proverbs 31:28). Especially her husband appreciated her and treated her with the highest respect (1 Peter 3:7). Her behavior made his obedience to this command of God easy.