Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Proverbs 31:28
I have read this verse in all the most read translations and they all essentially read the same, which tells me that the wording must be pretty accurate. This is interesting to me because I find the exact wording to be of importance. Her children are not blessing her, but calling her blessed, so she must already be blessed and her blessedness is recognized by her children.
This leads me to wonder what blessed actually means in the biblical sense. Blessed seems to me to be one of those words that has become overused and misused and has therefore lost its intended meaning only to be reduced to an everyday common sentiment of courtesy in Christian circles. This is unfortunate because every word in the Bible is ordained by God and anointed for Kingdom purpose. I think it is significant not only that ‘her children rise up and call her blessed’, but that this occurs toward the very end of the scripture acrostic after she has already been described as being wise, noble, trustworthy, hardworking, industrious, kind, generous, loving, compassionate and fearful of the Lord. It seems then that once she has mastered these virtuous traits, then she has earned the honor of being recognized by her family as being blessed.
When I think of being blessed, I always think of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12, where Jesus lists what it means to be blessed: Blessed are the poor is spirit, Blessed are those who mourn, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the pure in heart, Blessed are the peacemakers and Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Jesus’ list certainly doesn’t appear to describe what today’s culture seems to consider blessed, which typically has something to do with favor or material gain; something self serving. Jesus’ definition of being blessed is someone who has earned heavenly reward for their earthly sacrifice. The blessed person as described by Jesus is selfless; they see beyond their own circumstances. They seek God first. They love God by loving others. They serve God by serving others.
My understanding of this verse is that this Proverbs 31 woman sought God first. She lived for Him and His will in such a way that her family saw this and honored her for it. Most significantly, this scripture teaches us that when you live your life for God and make Him your priority, He will make you his priority. This woman did not sacrifice her family or her responsibility as a wife and mother to take care of the Father’s business. We know this because the verse states ‘her children rise up and call her blessed’, which shows honor. Not only did they recognize the character of their mother as being godly, but they honored her for it. This gives us glimpse into their character as well, which tells us this woman raised her children well; she raised them to love and honor God. She did not have to compromise anything or choose between serving God or loving her family well because she knew that God would take care of what mattered to her if she took care of what mattered to Him.
Here is the key to this woman’s effectiveness. Her priorities are determined by God’s will, not her own. Cultures change, but this woman’s God-inspired character still shines just as brightly today. I have often felt the tug of competing passions. I have a heart to serve and would serve 24/7 if time or energy allowed. I also have a passion for my family and a heart to love them well and to invest in them spiritually. This is my family and I could not be more thankful for them. Family is my first ministry and I trust God to use me where He has me as only He knows best!
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9
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Tracey McDonald is a wife, mother and Mia to three precious little grand baby blessings. She enjoys all things creative; writing, crafting, painting and journaling. She has a heart for prayer; particularly praying for women, children and families. She is a former nurse and practicing attorney; but her most worthy job is serving God by loving others. Her Breath on Paper bio can be found here.