Proverbs 31:13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
Do I work with willing hands? I work. I clean my kitchen several times a day. I vacuum, or dust, or clean the bathroom. I teach my children how to reduce fractions and what the latin root word onym means. I put in a load of laundry and wipe the toothpaste crust from the sink. If I only ask myself the question, “do I work?” the answer would be a rather emphatic yes. In fact, I can’t think of time before being home with my children when I ever worked so hard.
But how do I work? Is it willingly? Imbedded in that word is “will”. It carries the implication of submission to what God has called me to in my work. Willingly, not begrudgingly. Willing, not complaining. Willing, not expecting a payback from the people I’m serving. Even beyond simply complying, am I serving joyfully? The challenge isn’t so much whether or not I will work, but in what way I will carry out my work.
I remember something C.J. Mahaney wrote on the TG4 blog:
“My challenge each day is not so much working hard, but cheerfully working hard. If I understand Scripture accurately, I will not glorify God simply by working hard. To truly bring Him honor, I must labor with a cheerful spirit. Therefore, I must not only serve my family each day, but I must serve them with joy. I must not only prepare a sermon, I must do it cheerfully. I must not only labor faithfully in the church, I must do so happily. Merely working hard is not sufficient. It must be done with gladness. It is for my good and His glory that God has given this sweet command, ‘Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2).”
How is this possible for a gal like me who is bent to serve self, and when serving others is tempted to complain or expect something in return? It is not possible apart from the gospel. The gospel is this: God, the Son, who could create the entire universe with His words came to earth and served willingly with His hands. Jesus spent time on earth as a carpenter making chairs, tables, and dishes from the very trees He spoke into existence. It is mind-boggling, really. It was with willing hands that Jesus healed lepers. It was with willing hands that he broke bread with sinners. And those same willing hands were pierced through for our transgressions when He suffered the wrath our sins deserved by dying on the cross. Jesus makes it possible for me to walk in the footsteps of the Proverbs 31 woman. May I keep His work ever before me while I attempt to do my own.