Proverbs 31 – The Role Model
By: Marion Cooper
As a young Christian in the late 1950’s, I knew almost from my conversion, that God had saved me for a purpose, that some sort of service lay in my future. At that time there were extremely few women in leadership, we had almost no role models. Women in ministry were mostly missionaries serving God in strange lands and, inspiring as their stories were, it was hard to relate to their everyday lives.
From an unsaved background and with no family support in this area, rightly or wrongly, I came to understand that a good Christian woman, and that’s what I aspired to be, was above all submissive. The outworking of this was to cover our heads in services and rather a lot of ‘do nots’!
It was around this time, as a new Christian, that a dear male friend bought me a concordance and in the fly leaf wrote Proverbs 31.30. ‘Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.’ And I met for the first time the remarkable woman of Proverbs 31, virtuous, capable, noble and strong, a true role model. She remained there in the background of my life for many years until I had become a wife, mother and a leader.
It’s important to know that I am an outgoing personality. I love people, I’m talkative, humorous, and have an opinion on everything, (although I do understand that mine is not the only or even the most important opinion!) From time to time in my walk with God, I examined my heart about ‘submission’. Was I the woman God meant me to be?
Then God brought me back to the woman of Proverbs 31. This is no weak, incapable, manipulated, dependent, indecisive female. This is one strong woman of God. She works hard to provide for her family. She buys land and plants vineyards, (And I had thought I needed to ask permission to buy a bra!)
She provides food and clothing, not just for her family but for her household. She is always busy, never lazy. She speaks with wisdom. She is kind and caring, reaching out to the poor and needy. She is organised and well dressed, (I love that one.)
Who she is reflects on her husband and brings him honour among the elders of the city. She is loyal to him and respects him and he has complete confidence in her. And her children? They praise and appreciate her.
This woman I understand, this woman is worthy of following, this woman I aspire to be. Leadership is not only about authority, it is also about responsibility. And one of our greatest responsibilities is to be a role model to the following generations.
The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4.9. ‘Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.’
The greatest compliment any young woman can pay us, is that they aspire to be like us, not because we are ‘charming or beautiful’, but because every facet of our lives shows we are women who fear and honour the Lord.
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“From time to time in my walk with God, I examined my heart about ‘submission’. Was I the woman God meant me to be?”
1. How are you living as: –
a. The woman God meant you to be?
b. The leader God meant you to be?
2. How are you being a role model for the emerging leaders in this generation and generations to come?
3. What legacy do you want to leave to the next generation of leaders?