The words of Proverbs 31:27 adorn our free printable “Watching over Her House” coloring page today. You already know this chapter, right? It contains a glowing description of the virtuous woman. And verse 27 showcases a character trait we would all do well to emulate.
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27)
The verse contains two parts: “watching over her household” and “not eating the bread of idleness.”
When I read the first part, I think of washing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning toilets, vacuuming rugs. In short, chores come to mind. But I don’t think this verse is trying to chain a woman to her house. “Watching over it” does not mean “doing everything herself.”
Chores can be delegated. Everyone who shares the home should contribute in some way to its upkeep. Initially, it may longer longer to train your children how to perform household chores than it would take to just do the chore yourself, but such life skills are an important part of their education.
For a suggested list of which tasks to tackle first, follow this link: Age-Appropriate Chores for Children.
But watching over the affairs of one’s house means more than just keeping it clean. The virtuous woman also works to make her home a warm, welcoming place to be. She does what she can to make it pretty and inviting.
And she watches over the relationships of the people who live under her roof, as well. She builds up her family members. She comforts and encourages them, and prays for them, as well.
“Watching over the affairs of her household” encompasses all of this, and much, much more.
When I read the second part of the verse — the part about “not eating the bread of idleness” — a different picture springs to mind. But the more I’ve reflected on it, the more I’ve realized idleness takes many different forms.
Most people would agree that binge-watching Netflix or endlessly scrolling through social media qualify as idle pastimes. But do you ever wonder whether idleness might sometimes masquerade as productivity?
By definition, being idle just means being lazy and avoiding work. If this is true, then even good things, like reading crafting or writing blog posts, can be culpable when I use them as an excuse to dodge more pressing responsibilities. Like a student who finds every excuse under the sun to avoid studying for an upcoming test or writing a lengthy research paper.
Maybe such behavior can’t rightly be called idleness. Maybe it’s just another form of procrastination. Either way, it serves a reminder to be good stewards of the time God has given us. It challenges us to be smart about the way we use our time. And it encourages us to pray with the psalmist, “Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12).