A Wise Woman Builds… Community

1-10-13 communityThe word community seems to have such a nebulous (hazy, vague, indistinct, confused) meaning sometimes.  Perhaps this vagueness comes as a result of how community exists so very differently from one fellowship or church to another. To help get a firmer grasp on what community means and how a wise woman might participate effectively in that community, let’s again take a look at the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Read through Proverbs 31:10-31 and list all of the ways this woman impacts the world outside of her home. In other words, what positive impact does she have on the community in which she lives?

While a lot of suppositions could be made regarding her impact on her community, let’s focus on two areas that seem the most obvious, her benevolence & the impact of reputation.

Benevolence

Verse 20 provides a clear picture of this woman’s charitable nature by simply saying, “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.” We don’t know the details of what she does to help the poor and needy, and really the details aren’t important.

What verse 20 tells us is that even in her busyness, helping those less fortunate than her exists as a priority.

To help gain a better understanding of the impact that benevolence has and why we too should make it a priority, please look up the following verses and note the impact of acts of kindness and charitableness.

In reading through the verses above, significant motivation for benevolence should stand out. Consider the following 5 points take from these verses.

  1. Helping the poor and needy is not optional. God’s Word clearly commands that we do so.
  2. We honor God when we help the poor and needy.
  3. Helping the poor and needy brings blessings from God.
  4. We can avoid corruption by focusing on helping others.
  5. Helping others proves that God’s love exists within us.

As it does with the Proverbs 31 Woman, our fear of the Lord and desire to honor Him with our lives comes through in our actions. In other words, what we do proves whether or not we truly belong to him.

Reputation

We’ve talked in past studies about the Proverbs 31 Woman’s reputation, and here we focus on how that reputation might impact her community.

Please read through Proverbs 31:10-31 once again and write down every reference to her reputation. Then, go back through your notes and highlight the references specifically to the impact in the community.

Now, let’s look at a couple of the most obvious examples of the impact of her reputation in the community.

One way in which the Proverbs 31 Woman’s reputation impacts her community comes through her servant girls (v. 15). Most likely, those girls lived in her household, but consider the impact that living and working for a godly woman had on their lives. Verse 15 tells us she planned their day for them, and verse 27 indicates that the entire household is free from the impact of laziness. (See A Wise Woman Builds… Her Work and A Wise Woman Builds… Her Marriage for more study on the importance of avoiding laziness.)

If we suppose just a bit here, we see that the Proverbs 31 Woman impacted her community through the type of employer she was, much like an employer impacts a community still today, as well as through the positive example she set for the young women who worked for her and would one day have families of their own.

A second way the Proverbs 31 Woman impacts her community is how her family sees and bears the truth of her positive reputation. In verse 23, we read that her husband “is well known and sits in the council meeting with other civic leaders.” He appears to have a solid reputation, which flows to a great extent out of the trust within a marriage as verse 11 & 12 indicate exists in the Proverbs 31 Woman’s marriage. (Please see A Wise Woman Builds… Her Marriage for a detailed study on this topic.)

We know that both her husband and children publicly praised (v 28) her for the type of person she was. Further, we also know that her actions, which always eventually over time reflect a person’s character and values, also greatly impacted her reputation (v 31). (See A Wise Woman Builds… Her Family for more on these verses.)

Through the Proverbs 31 Woman and the people closest to her, we see the tremendous impact that reputation can have. If we take the liberty to suppose again, we can imagine the impact that positive reputation had as this woman went about her tasks in the community of the marketplace as well.

Look up the following verses and note what God’s word says about how to build a good reputation as well as why doing so is crucial to our impact on our community. A hint has been provided for you after each scripture, but please feel free to go beyond this indication to where the Spirit leads you.

The Proverbs 31 Woman’s life certainly exemplifies what God’s Word says about the value of reputation as well as how to build and keep a positive reputation.

Conclusion

Through the Proverbs 31 Woman’s life, we see the importance not only of serving and helping others but also of building and maintaining a positive reputation within the community. We can also see that the affects of doing so are far reaching.

For further study & discussion:

  1. While women tend to struggle with admitting what they do well, please take a moment to list 2-3 ways that you positively impact your community. Spend some time reflecting on your impact on your community, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you in this area.
  2. Read Ruth 2:1-13 again and list ways Ruth’s reputation brought about blessing?
  3. Read Deuteronomy 4:1-14 again and list all the reasons Moses gave for asking the Israelites to obey God’s commands.

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