In the final part of our series, The Making of A Modern Lady, we will be looking at what it means for a modern lady to be at work. This idea of women in the workplace may be a more modern invention, but let’s be honest, women have been working for centuries. Whether in the home or the marketplace, most women I know have a full slate of work to do! When I think about women working, the example from the Bible that comes to mind is Ruth. She was a woman who had plenty to complain about. Her husband died, and she lived with her bitter mother-in-law. Instead of joining in the pity party of her difficult circumstances, she got to work. (See Ruth chapters 1-2.) Here are a few ideas from her story of what it means to be a lady in your work:
1) Work with Humility –
Having a teachable spirit will go a long way in being able to work well with others. Ruth knew she was a foreigner in a strange land. She was on the bottom rung of society culturally and economically, but she knew she had to find work to survive. She asked her mother-in-law for advice on where and how to look for something she could do to sustain them (Ruth 2:2). Whether new to a job or well experienced, working with humility is essential to treating others as you would want to be treated.
2) Work with Character –
One of my favorite verses from Proverbs chapter 31 is verse 11, “The heart of her husband trusts in her” (CSB). Whether by a spouse or employer, being a woman who can be fully trusted is crucial to pursuing godly character. Are you the same person at home as you are in the workplace or in public? Ruth was a woman who quickly obtained a reputation for working with character (Ruth 3:11). Like Ruth, pursuing godly character is something we can all work toward daily. Each day you and I have the opportunity to choose whether we will follow our own path or follow God in all that we do and let His character shine through us. When you choose God’s path, He will shape you into a lady of character.
3) Work with Determination –
Working with determination means that we give all that we have to our work. The Apostle Paul encourages believers to work wholeheartedly for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:22-23). Do you give your whole heart to whatever work the Lord has given you to do? Often in American culture we are encouraged to go to one extreme or the other. We either over work with crazy obsession or go to the opposite end and spend our time binge watching Netflixä. Working wholeheartedly for the Lord means that we neither indulge in laziness nor let our work consume us. What it does mean is that when we work, we give it all that we’ve got for the glory of God. Not only was Ruth known for her character, but she also had a reputation for being a hard worker (Ruth 2:6-7). Are you known for being a hard worker, not to please others but to please the Lord in all that you do?
4) Work with Perseverance –
The easiest thing to do when work gets hard is to quit. The hardest thing to do is to keep going. Ruth kept going when the work was long and tough (Ruth 2:7). Who are some women in your life who come to mind when you think of perseverance? I can think of many examples of women I know who have continued on in the midst of difficult circumstances. Paul reminds us when following Jesus gets hard, we have a great cloud of witnesses to cheer us on (Hebrews 12:1). On days when our work gets tough, we can look to Jesus to help us make it through. Being a lady who works with perseverance means that we don’t give up. Instead it means that we keep our eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NASB Hebrews 12:2).
Some days our work is easier than others. Some days are just plain hard. Every day though, we can commit our work to the Lord and find encouragement in these words from Paul:
“Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 CSB).
Working wholeheartedly for the Lord is truly what it means to be a modern lady.Dr. Emily Dean serves as Adjunct Faculty and Coordinator of Women’s Programs at NOBTS. You can follow her @emilywdean or emilywdean.com.