The Proverbs 31 Entrepreneur

As Christian women and disciples of God, we have a calling to teach others about Jesus. We can arm-in-arm with women serving in the full-time ministry embrace our equal calling to advance the gospel. We all have various roles and are placed in multiple situations to serve him. We have equal responsibility in ministry no matter our title or role.

Women are created in the image of God, just like men. We have equal responsibility and importance to God to serve him. Did you know that women financially supported Jesus’ ministry and his twelve disciples and followed Jesus as disciples? Listen to this:

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Luke 8:1-3

These women, whom Jesus healed of demon possession or other diseases, helped support Jesus’ ministry “out of their own means.” From their earnings they gave money to help feed and support the needs of the men and women who were following Jesus. Three women are specifically named, but the verse also says there were “many others” who financially supported the ministry of Jesus out of their own means. Joanna was probably wealthy given her husband was Herod’s household manager. She may have worked for Herod in some capacity as well. This is the Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded. Joanna stepped out from Herod’s court, over to the ranks of the poor Galileans. Did she leave her husband to follow Jesus? The Bible doesn’t say. But she did travel with Jesus throughout his three-year ministry and was one of the women witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection:

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12

The women were speaking the truth, not nonsense. Jesus chose to appear first to the women going to the tomb instead of the Apostles hiding in a room. Jesus was turning the world upside-down showing the equality of men and women. Women were to be marginalized no longer. They could preach, teach, follow, and financially support men – including Jesus! This must have felt odd to the male Apostles, especially back in the first century, who were dependent on these women for their survival.

Often when we think about women in the Bible, we think of the Proverbs 31 woman. Look at the many ways she worked her businesses and took care of her family! Her ministry was interwoven with her work. No matter your job or position, you have a ministry. No matter how great or small, you have people around you who need to hear the message of Jesus. You are a woman, and you are valued and have equal responsibility to preach the word and the message of Jesus. “… a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

You don’t need to be married or have children to be a Proverbs 31 woman. This particular woman was, but of course you can be exemplary in what you do, speak with wisdom, and care for the needy whether you are widowed, single, divorced, or married. No matter your situation, you, as a Christian woman, are called to minister to others around you. You are called to work, to give, to care for the poor, to be responsible, to speak with wisdom, and to fear the Lord. You were created for a purpose.

Let’s find encouragement and strength from the women who came before us to pave the way. And let us continue pointing the way to Jesus for those who look to us guidance. Use your gifts to serve him, and you too are a Proverbs 31 entrepreneur!

Proverbs 31 Woman

A wife of noble character who can find?

    She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her

    and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm,

    all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax

    and works with eager hands.

She is like the merchant ships,

    bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still night;

    she provides food for her family

    and portions for her female servants.

She considers a field and buys it;

    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously;

    her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,

    and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hand she holds the distaff

    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor

    and extends her hands to the needy.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;

    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

She makes coverings for her bed;

    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate,

    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them,

    and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;

    she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom,

    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household

    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;

    her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things,

    but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Honor her for all that her hands have done,

    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:10-31

For further reading on the life and ministry of Joanna, click here.

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