Matters Of Faith: The Personification of An Excellent Woman



By: Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.   


Proverbs 31:10-31 (CEV)


10 A truly good wife is the most precious treasure
    a man can find! 11 Her husband depends on her, and she never lets him down.
12 She is good to him every day of her life, 13 and with her own hands she gladly makes clothes. 14 She is like a sailing ship that brings food from across the sea.
15 She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and for her servants.
16 She knows how to buy land and how to plant a vineyard, 17 and she always works hard. 18 She knows when to buy or sell, and she stays busy until late at night. 19 She spins her own cloth, 20 and she helps the poor and the needy. 21 Her family has arm clothing, and so she doesn’t worry when it snows. 22 She does her own sewing, and everything she wears is beautiful. 23 Her husband is a well-known and respected leader in the city. 24 She makes clothes to sell to the shop owners. 25 She is strong and graceful, as well as cheerful about the future. 26 Her words are sensible, and her advice is thoughtful. 27 She takes good care of her family and is never lazy. 28 Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, 29 “There are many good women, but you are the best!” 30 Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised. 31 Show her respect— praise her in public for what she has done.


How do you describe an excellent woman? Most people can do that with just one word; Mother, Mom, Mommy, Mama, or wife. It’s amazing how descriptive one word can be. Lemuel, the author of the 31st Proverb uses a lot of adjectives and phrases to describe a truly good woman; precious, dependable, good, talented, industrious, savvy, generous, compassionate, empathetic, strong, graceful, cheerful, sensible, insightful, honorable, beautiful, proud, respectful, loving, kind, sensual, thoughtful, caring, sharing, and God-fearing. I’m sure you can find many  more in those 22 verses. While Lemuel describes a truly good woman, or as the King James Version says, a virtuous woman, this description can and does describe any woman who loves and serves her family and her community…, especially those we call “Mother.”


Today is the national day that has been set aside to celebrate Mothers. The concept of Mother’s Day was developed by Anna Jarvis as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. Although Jarvis never married or had children, she clearly recognized the value of motherhood. So, with a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.


If I could write for every grateful child who had a loving mother, biological or surrogate, the most profound thing I could say is that God has honored her for the love she gave to others. Personally, my mother was gone too soon, but she left an incredible reservoir of love and compassion that not only overflows in my heart, but overflows and is evidenced in the lives of my three siblings through the love they express to their own children (I am the lone childless sibling).


Let me encourage someone today; it does not matter whether your mother had all or none of the qualities Lemuel wrote about in Proverbs 31. What matters is how you respect and honor her for what she has done for you. If nothing else, respect and honor your mother because she bought you into this world. For that reason alone, you now have the opportunity to make this world a much better place than it was when you found it. And, to do for your children and others what she may not have ever been able to do for you which would not have been possible if not for your mother.


As a matter of faith; any virtuous woman, any good woman, any wonderful woman, any woman who is a mother or a wife, or neither a mother nor a wife, but a woman who has virtuous and wonderful characteristics, should be given her praises while she can hear them.

28 Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, 29 “There are many good women, but you are the best!” (vv. 28-29)

So today, follow Stevie Wonder’s advice and “just call to say ‘I love you!’ And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.” If you can’t call her, pay her a visit, say a prayer, or just spend some quiet time thanking her for being your mother.


Happy Mother’s Day!

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM., or by phone at 626-226-1448. Note: You don’t have to talk, but you can access the show by calling in.   


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