I love how the Bible is so deep and applicable in various situations. If we will just take the time to read and study it, we will certainly be able to apply it to our lives, regardless of our circumstances. An example is Proverbs 31 [Read HERE] which is normally taught to wives and mothers as the pattern to follow. We will apply it to husbands and fathers today!
Proverbs 31 Advice
In my last post, I pointed out two pieces of advice we can pull from Proverbs 31. First, we looked at how verse 11 guides us to trust in our wives rather than withholding that trust to maintain control. We also noted how this advice can serve us well in the workplace.
In verse 23, we see that it is our responsibility as husbands and fathers to act in such a way as to earn the respect of those in our community over time. Our wives need to know that they can rely on this kind of behavior from us. Our employees and co-workers want the same consistency from us!
For today, I want to look at two more verses from Proverbs 31 that give us clear advice as husbands and fathers. In each case, we are able to apply this advice to our lives at home and at work. I pray you will do both!
Her husband also praises her:
“Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!”
Part of this advice to us husbands and fathers looks fairly obvious. We are to praise our wives. While it is simple, do you do it? Regularly? If so, give yourself a pat on the back! If not, why not?
Regardless of how close your wife comes to the pattern described in Proverbs 31, you must find those things she does well and you must praise her for those actions! Look for the good she does and recognize her for it. If you have children, then praise her in front of your children! They need to recognize all she does as well.
This same idea works for your employees or co-workers. Find the good they do and praise them for it. Don’t get stuck in the lie that praise will ruin them and spoil them. Praise them for their progress and watch that progress grow!
Subtle Aspect Of Praise
Don’t miss the part that is not so obvious. When the husband praises her in this verse, he says that she surpasses all of the other women. Do you think that is 100% accurate, that she is better than every other woman at all she does? I think it is unlikely.
However, his praise in this manner lets her know that in his eyes, the only ones that matter, she surpasses all the others. He lets her know that his eyes are only on her and that she is the only one he sees!
With employees, they need to hear something similar in that they need to know we still believe in them. They need to know that we are committed to them and that we are not looking elsewhere for their replacement every time they miss a target or make a mistake. Praise them in this way.
Give Her The Reward
Give her the reward of her labor,
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
Once again, part of this is obvious and part is a little more subtle. The obvious advice is that we are to reward our wives for the work they do. We are to reward them in ways that are specific to them. This is not a one size fits all kind of reward.
We need to get creative here and reward her in ways that communicate our appreciation for her commitment. This is not a once-a-year vase of flowers on Mother’s Day or her birthday. This kind of reward should be random, unexpected, and creative. It should reflect thought and planning, not just a last minute Hallmark card.
Our employees should get the very same treatment. They should be compensated in such a way that is equal to the work they do. But we should also work at rewarding them in other small ways in order to show them our appreciation for what they do. Again, these rewards are not the same for everyone, but they should happen in some way for everyone at one time or another.
Spread The Praise
The more subtle advice in this verse comes from the last part of the sentence… ”let her works praise her at the city gates.” What in the world does that mean? I will say that I am not positive, but I do have an opinion. Until I hear a better explanation, I am sticking to my own!
Think about it this way. How do those at the city gates find out about her works? Some of her works may spread by word of mouth from the marketplace, but I think it should come from us! If we husbands and fathers are the ones at the city gates, then we should be talking about how great our wives are. We should be praising them behind their backs!
Why not? Just because it is the cultural norm for husbands to talk down about the “old ball and chain” or their “old lady” in ways that make the wives out to be tyrants, does that mean we should do the same? NO! We should be singing their praises to those around us. Just imagine the swelling of their hearts if they hear from someone else how we were praising them in a crowd, behind their back!
The same is still true for our employees and co-workers. Praising them to people outside of our workplace will only increase their commitment to our company when word gets back to them. Doing this same thing to their spouses or children even multiplies the effect! Just give it a try and see if I am right!
What other advice did you glean from Proverbs 31?
What changes do you need to make to heed this advice?
Do you see the value of Proverbs 31 advice, even in the workplace?
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