The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
Dr. Valson Abraham
The role of women has changed little over the past 2,700 years. I want you to compare what women are saying about their roles now with what was said in the year 1,700 and what we read in Proverbs 31, which was written around 700 BC.
Author Linda Weber, in her book written in 1994, “Mom, You’re Incredible!”, asks, “What in the World Do I Do All Day?”
She writes, “Being a mom is a job with a capital J.
“We work our fingers to the bone, push our nerves to the edge and use every skill we have to accomplish the day’s demands.
“Just what does a mother do all day?
“Today’s college student can’t imagine. Numbers of women are baffled by what they’d do with “all that time” if they had to be home. Sometimes Mom herself can’t remember.”
Linda then notes what a mother is and what a mother does. Her lists flesh out with remarkable similarity to Proverbs 31:24-27:
“What am I? Well, I’m the following:
“baby feeder, changer, bather, rocker, burper, hugger, listener to crying and fussing and thousands of questions picker-upper of food and debris cast on the floor . . .
“comforter, encourager, counselor . . . linguistic expert for two-year-old dialects . .
“listener—to the husband as well as the children—about their day, their needs, their concerns, their aspirations, teacher of everything from how to chew food to how to drive a car, assistant on school projects . . .
“censor of TV, movies, and books . . . reader of thousands of children’s books planner and hostess of children’s birthday parties planner and hostess of adult dinner parties . . .
“central control for getting the appliance fixed or the carpet shampooed
“executioner of ants, roaches, wasps, and other pests
“resident historian in charge of photo albums, baby books, and school record books . . .
“resident encyclopedia source for all those hard questions that seem to arise.
“food preservation expert . . . keeper and locator of birth certificates and other valuable documents
“ironer of wrinkles . . .
“appointment desk for the family’s visits to the doctor, the dentist, the orthodontist, the barber, and the mechanic
“seeker of God, one who prays . . .
“cleaner of the oven, the drawers, the closets, the garage, the curtains, the windows, and even the walls . . . refinisher of furniture
“hubby’s romantic, attentive spouse . . .
“emergency medical technician and ‘ambulance’ driver
“And what else do I do? Well, among many other things, I do the following:
“clip ten fingernails and ten toenails for each young child regularly
“return library books . . . choose gifts, purchase gifts, wrap gifts for birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, wedding showers, baby showers, anniversaries, and any other event that might even remotely require a gift . . .
“mail packages, buy stamps drop off the dry cleaning; pick up the dry cleaning . . . haul everything that needs repair attend recitals attend every school sporting event imaginable chauffeur everyone everywhere . . .
“comb little girl’s hairdos . . . help in the classroom . . . attend school PTA meetings and conferences act as a room mother, making things and organizing more parties chaperon field trips and special events coordinate car pools . . . serve as a Scout leader, a Blue Bird leader, an AWANA leader, a Sunday school teacher . . .
“deliver forgotten lunches, forgotten homework and forgotten athletic gear . . . make bank deposits and withdrawals.”
(from Linda Weber, Mom, You’re Incredible! )
What Linda Weber describes in 21st century terminology about the mother and woman we find right here in our text, Proverbs 31:24-27. What does this wonderful wife do?
First, she is active with her hands (v. 24). She makes…for herself and her family…
Second, she is known for her character (v. 25). …always in style: strength and honor….and a positive outlook.
Third, she is known for her speech (v. 26). Words of wisdom…..fall from her tongue….blessed with common sense.
Fourth, she is attentive to her home (v.27)...keeps her eyes wide open, watching each member of the family.
Now let us come forward to the 18th century and Susannah Wesley.
Susannah Wesley (1669-1742) mother of Charles and John (founders of the Methodists), bore seventeen children, but raised ten surviving children. She raised with strictness but also with love. She prayed one hour each day just for her children and spent one hour each week discussing spiritual matters with each child individually.
With so many children, she struggled to find a quiet place for prayer with the Lord. So, she told her children that when they saw her with an apron over her head, they should leave her alone because she was talking with Jesus.
The following were her 16 house rules – written probably close to 300 years before.
“1. Eating between meals not allowed.
2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.
3. They are required to take medicine without complaining.
4. Subdue self- will in a child, and those working together with God to save the
5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.
7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.
8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
11. Comment and reward good behavior.
12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.
14. Strictly observe all promises.
15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
16. Teach children to fear the rod.”
Any child would be blessed to be loved by a mother in such an intentional manner such as Susannah Wesley loved her children.
How little the roles of women and motherhood have changed over the centuries! These roles, written into the hearts of women by God Himself, have helped to maintain families and societies through every kind life experience in spite of Satan’s constant efforts to steal, kill and destroy
Can you think of improving on these God-given principles?
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Father God, thank you for our wives and mothers who sacrifice and give us so untiringly of themselves as you have given of yourself through your Son. Help us in practical ways to appreciate and love our wives and mothers more for their indispensable roles in helping us to become who we are. Help us to serve them even as Christ gave Himself for the church. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.