We’ve all read Proverbs 31, most of us have probably read it more than once and maybe we have even tried to master a few of the virtues this amazing woman accomplished seemingly daily. There’s one part that has been on my mind lately, it’s verse 27.
“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
I’ve been thinking about what “bread of idleness'” means. Since I make my own bread I figured I should be able to pull some deeper truth out of this statement. We’ll see!
Idleness (as defined by the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary)-
1. Abstinence from labor or employment; the state of a person who is unemployed in labor, or unoccupied in business; the state of doing nothing.
2. Aversion to labor; reluctance to be employed, or to exertion either of body or mind; laziness, sloth; sluggishness.
So how do we eat idleness exactly. Such a strange word picture, because there is an amount of activity that goes into baking bread, even if I didn’t grind the wheat, I still have to get out the ingredients and mix them together and knead them. I have to be vigilant to pay attention to the texture of the dough and the temperature of the oven. I have to make sure that I don’t let the bread bake too long and I have to protect it from crazy cats and impatient fingers.
I think eating the bread of idleness has to do with getting things set up in the proper way, and then letting it just disintegrate. Procrastination. If I go through all the trouble of making the bread, but then don’t clean up afterward or pack it away into the freezer so that it gets moldy, I’m eating the bread of idleness. If I spend time making lists and preparing menus, but then call out for pizza, I’m eating the bread of idleness.
As women we go through seasons where we can’t do most of the things she does, especially with a houseful of little people. In that case eating the bread of idleness might mean not following through with a consequence of an established rule that has been broken. It might be choosing to surf the internet instead of preparing for the next day or instead of going to bed at an appropriate time. We all know when we’ve been idle. I know I would rather blame my idleness on being 8 months pregnant, than the real truth of the matter—I just don’t feel like it!
Already this Proverbs 31 woman makes me feel inadequate and lacking, but she also inspires me. I think, if she could do it, I can too! If this kind of woman brings glory to the Lord, then that’s the kind of woman I want to be!
So, as a matter of job security, I want to encourage you to take a deep breath and ignore the part of your mind that says, “I’ll just do it later.” And instead tell yourself, “I’ll not eat the bread of idleness today, instead I will do the next thing and enjoy the rest that comes from the completion of a task.”
Father, help us to know the difference between eating the bread of idleness and doing too much. Allow your Spirit to guide us in making good choices with our time all day long, focusing on the things that you would have us to do, rather than the things we want to do. Thank you for the incredible example you have given us in Your word, help us not to intimated by her, but to be inspired by her! Amen!