Posted by: Ety W. | October 25, 2008

Prov. 31:30-31 – Eternally Motivated

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This is part 20 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

I’ll never forget how shocked I was after my 51st birthday.  I was checking out at the grocery store when the cashier (a woman who appeared to be about my age), asked me if I qualified for the 65 and older discount.  In that nanosecond I realized something startling about myself.

Ever since I had come to know the Lord, I’d been telling myself that everything I did was for the Lord and that I didn’t care what other people thought. A simple question concerning my age revealed something else. In the flustering minutes which followed that incident, I jumped to the conclusion that I needed to get rid of my gray hairs!  Soon though, my initial emotional reaction dissipated, and I had to ask myself question, which I’m going to turn around and ask you.

What motivates you?  I mean at the barest, most basic level, what motivates you?  Is it what others think?   I have to admit that I’m constantly struggling with worry about how the house looks, how I look, and whether or not I’ve just said something stupid.  Now, I’m not saying that keeping the house clean and myself well groomed aren’t important.  The problem is, who I am doing it for?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.  Prov. 31:30-31

Verse 30 contains a contrast (notice that little word “but”?)  It contrasts the way we behave and look (charm and beauty), with the condition of our hearts toward God.

Charm – Strong’s 2580 – חן – chen = favor, grace, charm, elegance, acceptance

Being funny, clever, or charming is something that comes naturally for some people. It can also be learned to some degree. But beauty fades with age.  Popularity is based on other people’s perceptions, which are easily swayed.  Prov. 31:30 tells us these things are vain.

Vain – Strong’s 1892 – הבל – hebel = vapor, breath, empty, transitory, unsatisfactory

Beauty, charm, and popularity never last, which is why they are ultimately empty and unsatisfactory. We, however, are eternal beings who crave something of eternal worth.  If we want to have a sense of lasting value in who we are and what we do, we should consider what qualities can withstand the test of time.  What was it for the Excellent Woman?

But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Prov. 31:31b

That word “fears” can mean to be afraid, but in this case, it does not.

Fears – Strong’s 3373 – ירא – yare’ = morally reverent, afraid

This verse reveals the Proverbs 31 Woman’s true source of motivation for everything she does in verses 11 through 27.  It explains why the heart of her husband trusts in her. It explains why she is willing to rise early and stay up late.  It explains why she is not afraid, why she smiles at the future, and why her children bless her and her husband praises her.

Everything the Excellent Woman does is for the Lord.  Why?  Because she respects and trusts Him.  She understands that her sense of security and personal worth are not based on anyone else, nor on anything she can do.  They are based solely on who the Lord is and what He can do.  Consequently, she is free to live her life and enjoy her family, without the burden of worry and fear of failure.

What motivates you?  Is it what others might think?  What others might say?  Do you find yourself reacting to a litany of “buts” and  “what ifs” that continually parade themselves through your mind?

One day each one of us will receive the fruit of our hands.

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  2 Cor. 5:9-10

As Christians this is not a judgment for sin, but a receiving of the fruit of how we lived our lives.  It is something that each and every Believer will be required to do.

When eternity comes, what will you have to show for your life?  Will you be known to have been like the Proverbs 31 Woman?  I encourage you to take her example to heart.


  1. […] Moral – v 30 […]

  2. […] is an excerpt from the post. It’s talking about what happens on judgment day when each of us will have to give an account […]

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