Proverbs 31:20-23, She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
From previous verses in this chapter we have learned that Lemuel’s mother has burdened her son with characteristics of a virtuous woman.
She wants no mistakes here and she tells him that this is a woman who has established herself as fully trustworthy in the heart of her husband.
This is a woman who will do her husband good all the days of her life.
She is a woman who worketh willingly with her hands.
She cares enough to see to it that her family has the best variety of foods that can be had.
She extends herself to that effort.
It is important to her.
She is not a slave to sleep but she is a slave to duty.
She is not afraid to tackle a large undertaking such as the buying of a field and the planting of a vineyard.
The heart of her husband safely trusts in her even to the buying of a field without his involvement.
Her frame is formed by hard work and hard work gives her the confidence to know that the product of her hands is good.
She meets her deadlines even to the point of missing sleep and staying up late to do so.
She involves herself in work that her maidens could do but she leads in servant hood by being a servant herself.
Everything she does reveals her virtue because everything she does is by stretching and reaching and extending herself beyond herself.
But this virtuous woman does not confine her stretching, reaching and extending to her family.
She does not use the profits from her merchandise solely to benefit her husband and her children but she stretches out her hand, she reaches forth her hands to those who need help.
The meaning of the Hebrew word for stretcheth is to break apart, to spread.
This woman stretcheth her hands.
She spreads her hands to meet the need.
It is as if she breaks apart her hands into many hands so she may meet many needs. She is spread thin!
She does not wait for those that are in need to come to her, she goes to them.
She looks for opportunities to stretch.
She knows that there are those who are poor in spirit, those that are depressed in mind or circumstances that will not ask for help.
She does not wait to be asked but is alert and sensitive to the needs of people around her.
She does not hide behind ignorance nor does she offer help to those in need hoping her offer will be refused.
Well! I asked and they said they did not need help. I did my duty!
No, she is the one who brings the dinner to the house when that kindness is needed.
She is the one who gives the kind word just at the right time.
She is the one who is in the forefront to meet the need.
She is the one who multiples her hands, who breaks apart her hands into many hands, by mobilizing the hands of others to help meet the need.
Snow and the cold of the winter is not a threat to her because she plans ahead for the inevitable.
She knows that winter is coming and her household must have clothing suitable for the season.
She does not wait until too late to provide for her household but with plenty of time she prepares good warm clothing to protect her husband, children and her maidens.
Again it is evident that her sights extend past her immediate family to the care of those who serve her family.
And her planning ahead gives her confidence that her family will not suffer when the snows and the cold of the winter come as they inevitably will.