Monday, July 12, 2010

"Your Handmaid is but a Servant to Wash the Feet of the Servants of my Lord."

Proverbs 31:20 She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.

There are some "domestic accomplishment" wives who are not “Goodwives”. These women are just “can do” personalities—choleric fascists who work like Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables. So far, so good. But (a crucial "but") they will have an ordered household that is in service not to husband, family or guests, but is a temple to which all those must come and worship, removing their shoes in obeisance. All others than herself must not benefit, relax, consume, wear-out, dirty the thing that she has made. I have seen plastic on the furniture. I have heard of rooms banned from family life.

Although verse 20 is not about domestic affairs, it measures the distinction between a good wife's ordered home and this other order. It is a reminder that when our hearts are in service they will choose to serve either others or ourselves. When the heart is in service to a husband and not in service to a private, unshared peace, that heart goes naturally to others as well, outsiders who have not. The goodwife's house is already an article of “service” to those who share that home and her wide reaching capabilities allow that heart to serve the needy. The productive “self-server” finds her own wants closer to her heart and can never find residual time or material to give.

Now it is also possible that a wife would be out and about serving the poor and fail to accomplish the first tier of her responsibility. The verse is not alone and has been preceded by her first calling, that of wife of a husband and potentially a mother of her children. Should a woman want to be in dominant service to the needy, then she should remain single that the calling of "lover of the home, husband and children" (from Titus) would not be an untouched arena of failure, but a reasonable avoidance of precedent claims. But if you marry, the heart that serves God first, and under such the husband second, will find herself eager to be doing good deeds beyond the home.

I Corinthians 7:34 And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband.


Tiffany said...

In reference to your first point - it seems to be a matter of first and second things. If you put the good of a clean home over the good of serving those who live in that home you will loose the good of both. Same with being out serving everything/one else except your household.

In fact I think a vast majority of our lives comes down to the concept of first and second things. we must order our world as we aught in order to maintain the good of all of it.

Evan B. Wilson said...

Nicely put, Tiff.

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