Proverbs 31 Verse 20: “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”
I always enjoy reading Proverbs 31. And, it seems no matter how many times I read it, I can always go back and find something new—a clearer, deeper understanding within this jewel of the Word. This week, when I returned to Proverbs 31, my heart was drawn to verse 20 where the virtuous woman is described as a woman of compassion and charity: “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hand to the needy.”
While this devotion in charitable service is heartwarming in general, let’s take this verse in context. This virtuous woman is not a woman with a whole lot of time on her hands. She is one busy lady! Her hands are busy working from the moment she awakes to after the household is still into the late hours of night, never eating of the bread of idleness. She not only cares for her husband and children, but tends to the needs of those within her gates as well. So, where does she find the time to help the poor?
When I read Proverbs 31, I am amazed by all this woman encompasses, from a gentle spirit full of wisdom, to a heart full of kindness … to an incredible work ethic that should set the standard (and not the exception) for us all. And, despite her daily duties, which she seems to thoroughly love, she is moved to stretch forth her hands to the poor, which means she is doing this herself. She is sacrificing valuable time away from her family and her daily chores to work some more … to give of herself … a sweet offering … to give in such a way that she cannot be repaid for her labor … giving to those who have so little. In this verse, verse 20, we can see the true colors of her heart, and they’re beautiful, like a rainbow set before a child for the first time.
What does it mean to help the poor and needy, to stretch forth your hands and reach them? I can share through personal experience that sacrificing time and money, to help those who are poor and needy, is an amazing experience. Not only are we told to do this in scripture, but there is a transformation of the heart that occurs every time you serve, and I think this is why we are directly encouraged to serve the poor and needy … it brings us closer to Yahweh! If you’ve never directly helped in this way, ask someone who has. They will likely tell you they received more than they gave, and it’s true! When I serve, I feel energized and humbled at the same time. You’d think that giving time and money would feel draining, but in fact, the exact opposite happens! Through service to the least of them, you become closer to the greatest of them … Yahweh.
May we all continually strive to be virtuous women pleasing to our Father and those we are blessed to serve, for serving is a gift and Yahweh is the Giver. May Yahweh bless you and guide your footsteps as you seek to serve Him and your household. HalleluYah!
by: Amy Pletz