“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
I never considered not going to college. It seemed a given that I would take that path. Looking back, I'm happy and proud of my accomplishments. However, the expectation of my friends, parents, and grandparents that I would have a college education was often more than I could take. Even though there were times during that journey where I felt I would falter under that expectation, I still pressed on.
In today's society, a career is becoming one of the most important things in a person's life. Due to this, many of us younger adults choose the path of entrepreneurship or transition into the corporate world. Our generation is focused on thriving, and we’re doing a good job of it. It's a new world and we want to flourish. We want to get the big bucks, travel the world, or buy a new car. We want to be happy. We want success.
How do we get it? What does this mean for believers? Is it okay to want a career instead of a marriage, at least for the time being? Is it selfish to want to build a business instead of a family?
According to Pew Research, 33% of young adults aren't married because they aren't ready to settle down. In this ever-changing world, it's hard to believe that we will ever have a chance to breathe, let alone have time to raise a family.
A couple of weeks ago, I might have negatively judged someone with this mentality.
“Of course, it's selfish!” I would have thought. “It's our time to be parents and spouses and submit to that calling on our lives.”
I have a friend who likes to use the phrases, “I'm not made for work” or “College isn't for everyone” and “I don't ever want to get married.” As I heard her say it for the 200th time, I was reminded that we're each called to different things. However, no matter what path we're called to take, we must work hard and honor the Lord.
As I began re-reading Proverbs 31 recently, I was challenged. Christian women of all ages have read about, prayed about, and attempted to achieve this standard of womanhood. The example of the capable wife started to mean something different. It isn't a tale of a perfect wife unafraid of what the future holds. It's the picture of how a faithful follower of the Lord should work.
“She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her female servants” (Proverbs 31:15).
Being unmarried, I couldn't imagine having the responsibility of having to get up before the sun and take care of a family. I can, however, imagine pulling an all-nighter helping a friend study or write a paper. I do understand taking care of someone I love. Many of us have been taught to accomplish what has to be done. But have we been taught to work at everything with diligence and love for those around us?
The diligence of this woman is seen in how she provides and takes care of what is hers. Whether it is her family, her servants, her fields, this woman gets up before dawn to make sure her everything is taken care of and that she is pulling her weight.
When I recall times I've pulled my weight, it mostly involves group projects or efforts I have put into a relationship. When we're in a similar situation we must be diligent in what we do for the sake of those who we affect. People didn't see this woman go into the night, but she did it. In the same respect, as a believer, we must be intentional in our jobs, relationships, and work – even if it goes unnoticed.
“Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20).
The Proverbs 31 woman truly cares for people in and around her life. So much so, she wants to reach and help those in need. A major problem with our career-driven world is how we don't have time for anything but ourselves.
We're all found guilty of slamming a couple of car doors or looking at our phones when we see someone we don't care for. However, many of us struggle with different issues, which allows us to understand the specific needs of our brothers and sisters. If you know what someone is going through, you might be able to offer him or her a hand.
In a world that is so focused on tearing down, it is vital that believers see people for what they are and care for them as Christ does. In your everyday work or home life, look for those who need the love of Christ and reach towards them.
“She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle” (Proverbs 21:27).
She is “never idle.” This woman does not have time to be lazy. She works in the field, takes care of her family, makes their clothes, and buys land. Wherever you are in life, don't be lazy. As believers, we're taught to “run the race with endurance.” We are not, however, told to halfway use our talents to magnify the Lord.
We must obey the Lord and not fall captive to the temptation of laziness. It is necessary that we stay on top of our duties. People watch you wherever you go. Without magnifying the Lord and following through with His plan, we are going against His will.
Fear the Lord
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
Whether you choose marriage or a career, the Proverbs 31 woman is a representation of how we should commit our workmanship to the Lord. For this woman, these attributes weren't rigid and required. They were an overflow of her love for the Lord. No matter what field we decide to go into, if we don't seek the Lord, we're doomed. Falling in love with Jesus will produce an overflow of love, productivity, and desire to thrive in your life.
Plenty of people hate their current work situation, and it shows in their attitude. Don't be one of them. Be a diligent, kind, hardworking, Lord-loving servant of the One who made the world.
Katie Davis left the country to start an orphanage.
Christine Caine started an organization fighting human trafficking.
Max Lucado overcame sexual assault.
Tim Tebow played football and gave glory to God.
If we're following Him, any of us has the power to change the world