Having a Housekeeper-It’s Biblical!

“…and portions for her servant girls.” Proverbs 31: 15.

So often we study the Proverbs 31 woman and then sit in awe or defeat.  We compare ourselves to her, a lifetime of achievements and qualities captured in 21 short verses.  We lose perspective.

This woman of God lived a life well lived.  She was blessed, praised and honored.  She did much.  She ran multiple businesses, she managed family finances, she took care of herself physically and emotionally.  She provided for her family. Her days started early and ended late.  But more than what she did, which is where we often focus, we need to consider who she was.  We should study to learn about her qualities, not her achievements.

We have already discussed that she was pure, trustworthy, loyal, industrious, and thrifty.  Most of all we know she feared the Lord and sought His guidance daily, hourly.  It is in the seeking to know who she was that we will find the lessons He has for us.

I have often joked about verse 15.  Before children, when I was working 60+ hours a week, volunteering in my community and with our youth group at church, I had a housekeeper.  In fact we had her for 16 years.  She became our friend, an extension of our family.  Her daughter grew up in front of us.  We shared laughs, tears, trials and joys.  I was blessed to have her help, her friendship.  On occasion, my husband would question our need for her.  (You see I am one of those people that would clean up to get ready for the housekeeper.  I know.  That’s a whole other discussion.)  On more than one occasion I would whip out Proverbs 31:15 to justify my decision.  I mean after all if this revered woman in scripture clearly had maidservants, then I should most certainly follow suit.  So there you have it ladies.  Having a housekeeper is indeed biblical!

Well, remember that thing called perspective?  In deed the Proverbs 31 had maidservants.  She lived in a day and time that financially, politically was one of the darkest and most difficult times in Israel.  Families often found themselves unable to provide for their children, thus abandoning them or selling them.  Recurring battles and plunder left many children orphaned.  Living in a trade community there we enslaved girls brought in and sold or traded, some even abandoned after the merchants were finished with them.  Yes, human trafficking existed even then.  As such, families who were able, families who felt compelled to help, would take young boys and girls in as bond servants, offering them safety, shelter and provisions.

The Proverbs 31 woman also had need for help.  Again, due to the times, life was difficult.  Much was required if one was to have food and provisions.  It required sacrifice, planning, diligent labor, ingenuity and physical strength.  It would have been virtually impossible to do it alone.

courtesy Town & Country

courtesy Town & Country

While I’d like to stick with the whole “having a housekeeper is biblical” thing, the real lesson is so much more.  It’s not about the housekeeper/the maidservant.  Again, it is about who the Proverbs 31 woman was.  She was wise.  She spent time considering all that she had and needed.  She sought God’s counsel as she attempted to plan for the future.  She was confident enough to know she could not do it all, she could not be all.  She knew what and when she needed to delegate. She saw her plenty and knew she was called to serve, to rescue, to help.  She provided for her maidservants as she did her family.

This woman did not live in abundance.  She had plenty.  But even the plenty she was willing to share, with her maidservants (vs 15) and with the poor and needy (vs 20).  It wasn’t about having more for the sake of having more.  It was about having plenty/enough and being willing to stretch that to help meet the needs of others.

This woman did not work from a place of pride.  She was humble.  She sought to work hard, give her best, yet she knew and accepted what she could not do.  A part of her resourcefulness was knowing what to delegate and to whom.  Once she chose to delegate, she then taught/trained those whom she sought help from.  Her ways were gentle.  She worked alongside them.  She cared for them.

So many lessons for us.  When I seek help am I doing it to stretch my plenty or to obtain abundance?  When I seek help do I humbly come alongside that person teaching/training and working alongside?  Do I use the extra time afforded me by having help to do something worthwhile?  Do I look for the needy and offer them help?

I don’t have a housekeeper any more.  Some days I miss her terribly.  But finances changed, my work load lightened, my daughters grew and the wiser choice was to take our plenty and use it wisely.  I now delegate to my daughters, working alongside them to train them and teach them how to care for a home, provide for a family and serve others.  We open our home to serve others.  We look for opportunities to help meet needs in our family, church and community.

We all live in different circumstances.  Our plenty is different for each of us.  And some of us our blessed with abundance. Remember, to that one, much is expected.  Having help is important.  Knowing what and when to delegate is critical.  Let’s remember those lessons from the Proverbs 31 woman.  Let’s dig deep and look at who she was, not just at what she had or did.  In the end it is all about stewardship.  Stewardship of our time, our resources and our plenty.

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13 thoughts on “Having a Housekeeper-It’s Biblical!

  1. I love this….everything about it! Excellent words that I’ve never considered. When my girls were babies I had a housekeeper and I was a stay at home mom. I felt so guilty! I wish I had read this back then! I found you from ARWB and I’m excited to explore your site! It looks like you have posts that are right up my alley! Thanks for sharing from your heart!

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  2. I LOVE this post. I have never had a housekeeper, but have always felt guilty about wanting one. I take on all of the housekeeping myself and thought that it was my duty as a wife to be the one to do it all. Sadly I’m past this point now and have my girls (12 and 15) to help more, but I will definitely be sharing this with some friends who do need it.

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    • There are always things we may need to delegate-beyond the housekeeper. AND teaching your daughters is such a wonderful part of the mentorship of motherhood. Thank you for sharing. I wish us women folks weren’t so hard on ourselves!

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  3. This is so true, and there’s so much wisdom here. Proverbs 31 used to make me feel guilty until, like you, I started learning more about the background and understanding the context. Thank you for this heartfelt and wise explanation.

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    • Thank you. While I know even the young can be wise, clearly age and experience brings wisdom. I love digging into the Word of God. He has so much to teach us through His Word. Thank you for encouraging and sharing.

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  4. Perfectly said! I have recently hired a house-helper. I have a small family practice, I run a free health clinic two nights a month, I own a boarding kennel where we board for the public and foster for the humane society, I have 14 rescue dogs of my own. My 87 year-old father, who has dementia recently relocated 800 miles to live with us. My life is busy- some of the business is by choice. I had very mixed emotions about hiring someone to help with our home – but at the end of the day I evaluated where my time and talents were best used and what I could delegate. In the process I have helped a young lady start her own cleaning service and found joy in coming home at the end of the day to our home. Thank you helping me see another side of the picture.

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    • Your plate is full! We are so hard on ourselves. Knowing how to delegate and maintain our priorities is so vital. And I LOVE that you see how you are enhancing another woman’s life. That is incredible. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Thank you. Just a reminder to us all God always has something to teach us in His word. Every time I study the Proverbs 31 Woman He speaks new truth into my life. So glad you were inspired and thank you for sharing.

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