This is Jan Verhoeff, and I’m co-authoring a book with fellow business connoisseur and startups master, Kevin Cullis, and during a recent discussion, he asked me to write a segment about “the art of womanliness in business.” Following is a short portion of the book – the reveal of the study portion – I’m using as insight for my writing. I thought you might enjoy it.
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I can hear the masses roaring with laughter here, as I consider the concept Kevin Cullis has asked me to write about… The Art of Womanliness in Business. If you know me, this concept may bring you to immediate tears or, it may send shock waves through your body at the very idea. But I do have a perspective on this model that may surprise a few of you, or disgust others. Either way, I’m diving in…
Before I go to my personal views on the matter, let me head you off at the pass with a glimpse of the Biblical Profile of a woman.
Yeah, that trusty old Proverbs 31 woman works every single time… And I’m going there.
Let’s go straight to the basis, with details from the King James Version – because that’s what I prefer to study.
King Lemuel speaks these words as he was taught by his mother. I don’t recall any discussion in the Bible about King Lemuel’s father, whether he has a living one, or was raised with a father or not, although the conceptual husband is mentioned in this passage. But he has a very wise and understanding mother, who raised him and taught him well the value of a good woman.
She tells him, according to verse 2 “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.” Then she further reminds him that men should not to partake of strong drink, or wine, because they might forget the law, or endanger themselves with perversion.
Her wisdom appeals to the strength of a good man, one she esteems and respects, for she knows exactly how he was raised, she raised him herself. And he took well her counsel, carried it through his life and shared it as we have seen in these words.
Then, he offers an excuse for those who might deserve strong drink. Those who are at the end of their lives, or those who are impoverished, sad, and indisposed of life, as they should be allowed to forget their troubles.
King Lemuel asks, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” And he places the value of a good woman above gemstones, rubies. He values women. Particularly obvious here, he values his mother, a woman who can be trusted by her husband.
If King Lemuel had a living father, he proposes that his father can trust his mother, the woman who gave him birth. And he goes further to extol the virtuous woman, who will do good and not evil all the days of her life. (Let it be known here, that she raised her husband’s son to be King, to carry on the family name in a virtuous and profitable manner.)
King Lemuel acknowledges that his mother considers the fields. She visits the fields, assesses their value, and purchases the fields. Then, with the fruit of her own hands, she plants vineyards. She is a strong, capable woman, who builds her own strength and obviously takes good physical care of herself. She gathers food, provides meat for her family, and for her maidens. She’s obviously a hunter when she needs to provide food.
The story continues, revealing her ability to work hard, creating product, services, and merchandise which she sells to provide wealth for her family. She works long hard hours, for her candle remains lit into the night, and she arises early in the morning. This woman who raised King Lemuel offers help to the needy, and provides well for her family. She fears not the winter, for her family is well dressed in scarlet. For herself, she is adorned in tapestry, silk and purple.
Her husband is well known at the gates of the city. He’s perhaps a political figure as well? A wealthy man, capable of leadership, and he is well known by the elders in the community. (Presumably by this portion of the passage, King Lemuel has a living father.)
This woman, the mother of King Lemuel, makes fine linen. She’s known to be honorable, strong, and wise. Wisdom comes from her lips, and she speaks the law in kindness. Her gentle voice resounds through the community as she is heard by her people. She is not idle. Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her daughters are virtuous and excel in their lives as well.
This woman doesn’t have to extol her own virtues, for she is known at the gates of the city for her wares, her fruits, and her wisdom. She is a woman of virtue, celebrated by many.
The Proverbs 31 woman is a woman of means, of business, of professionalism, and mostly of wisdom. She’s educated and wise. Men who know her appreciate and extol her value, they look to her for wisdom, and she leads her children, her maidens, and her household to levels of wealth and success celebrated by others.
Are you a Proverbs 31 woman?
Do you know Proverbs 31 women?
Please do take a moment and share your stories below. I’d love to hear more about virtuous women who model the Proverbs 31 woman’s lifestyle.