**Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. ** Proverbs 31:31
If you have done any gardening or agricultural work, you know that a seed is not sown one day and there is fruit to enjoy the next. All plants need weeks, if not months or years, to produce their fruit. The average apple tree takes up to 8 years to yield a good crop of edible fruit.
No one is an overnight success. No one accomplishes their life’s work in a day. Our many responsibilities as women require diligence and years of persistence to see the effects and their lasting outcome.
The virtuous woman is a woman of hope. She knows that what she does has value and that it is needful. Needful for her family and for her own sense of purpose. Needful for her relationship with her Lord. Needful because what she does not only impacts her life and her family, but it also impacts future generations.
The P31 woman understands that her efforts do not go unnoticed. 2 Timothy 1:12 tells her ** For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.**
She recognizes that her season as a young, exhausted mother is temporary. The time she spends giving her children a solid foundation of faith and character will not go unrewarded. She realizes that having teens in the house can be exasperating, but one day they will be capable, prosperous adults.
Later, she realizes that life is fleeting and time and opportunity should not be wasted. The years are advancing. She hopes for what can be. For what she will one day see. She always looks forward, knowing that God is faithful and that his promises are true.
No one ever gets enough praise and recognition for all that they do in this life. Many only receive acclaim after they are gone. Their absence awakens us to their accomplishments and their worth.
But God tells us here in this Proverb that what we do is noticed. That others see our efforts, our sacrifices, and our perseverance. And if they don’t, God does. He saw Ruth’s value. He saw Bathsheba’s value. He saw quiet Esther’s value. And Debora’s and Dorca’s, and Priscilla’s….And their lives are memorialized in his Sacred Book.
In a culture and in a time when women were not valued, He saw their worth. And He recorded it for all eternity.
That is the virtuous woman’s hope and her praise. That God sees all that she does and knows her heart. He is the One that assures that she is praised, valued, recognized and rewarded when others fail to see all that she does. Because He values her.
In Psalm 16, King David said ** Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.**
Hope that God will keep his promises. Hope that God will see and know all that David did and suffered. Hope that this life is not all that there is.
**Let her own works praise her in the gates.** The gates where her husband is among the elders. The gates that are reserved for the wise and the learning.
Or is it the gates of heaven? Our entrance into the presence of the Lord when we hear, **Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.**