Proverbs 31: 10 – 31 Realized

   When one looks at the history of his life, now nearing three-score years and ten, one reminisces of the many who have positively influenced his life for God’s cause. Among these influential saints are several godly women whose virtue indeed is “far above rubies.” These are examples to others; especially younger women intending to marry and encourage their husbands to be the best they can be in service to our King Jesus. No man can ever achieve the goodness of one of God’s leaders, i.e., an elder in His church, without the priceless benefit of a good wife. Neither can a man become a devoted servant, i.e., a deacon in the Lord’s church, without the companionship of a proven faithful wife. And while it is not required for a preacher of the gospel to be married, those men who are married find their work greatly enhanced by their helpmeet whose depth and understanding of God’s word often exceeds that of her husband, and therefore, she becomes his most precious critic.

   Two such women entered eternity this past week: MARY ANN HAHN, the wife of preacher/elder JAMES HAHN of the Westside church of Christ, Salem, IN, and VIVIAN DILLMAN, the widow of the late JOE DILLMAN who had served as an elder and later as a deacon within the Lord’s church. Both Vivian and Joe were considered faithful members at Spencer church of Christ (their summer home in later years) and Lakeland Hills church of Christ, Lakeland, FL where they stayed in the winter months.

   While my acquaintance with MARY ANN spanned but a few years, first meeting her and James for a gospel meeting at Bellville, there was no mistaking her dedication to the Lord and the fact her example was an exquisite one for any woman desiring to the perfect helpmeet for an elder, a deacon or a gospel preacher. Mary Ann was a fine example of a virtuous woman.

   VIVIAN DILLMAN and the entire Dillman family have been much more than acquaintances and friends with the Davis family for the greater part of six decades. Memories are vastly more abundant than space here will permit, and besides, this article is about these two saints, not my cherished memories of them, their children, and our mutual adventures. Vivian was a hard-working woman, mother of four children who grew up learning hard work paid off! She was also the wife of an elder, then after moving, Joe was a deacon. Throughout it all, she was a dedicated bible student!  In all the years I knew Vivian, I cannot remember a single time of her hearing a sermon without a notebook, pen, and her bible in hand as she studied the spoken word with carefulness!

   The value of such women must not be lost on the reality of their death. Like Abel, they also speak, though their lives are gone from our sight (Hebrews 11:4). As one reads Proverbs 31: 10 -31, one understands the qualities of a virtuous woman are qualities that are not innate, but rather qualities that require much diligence with righteousness! It appears their most pronounced quality is an unspoken one: that of humility – that kind of humility Peter describes of a righteous woman at 1 Peter 3:1 – 6. They are the bolstering of their husband’s esteem and the tenderness of enforcing his discipline demanded of the children within his house. Often, she also is the one who assures her children read, study, learn and obey the righteousness of God’s word. While the man of such homes is the responsible one for raising his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), the virtuous woman exemplifies this teaching with her conduct which embeds God’s truth into the psyche of the child with the preciousness of a mother’s love, a mother’s understanding, and a mother’s determination to have children that will honestly rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28).

   Such virtuous women are most often reluctant to accept the honor they are due, and the praises bestowed upon them. They find it their “duty” to be the housewife, the keeper at home. They do it without complaint, and too often without thanks. Still, they realize their place is not to “lead” but to “follow” the path of righteousness. It is to her the children go when ill or harmed physically or emotionally. It is to her the husband goes when confronted with challenges she often finds as only additional hurdles they must jump in their race of life’s course. Often, this virtuous woman is the bedrock of the family’s towering reputation: and yet, she remains simplistic and kind, unspoken and submissive just as the biblical examples she copies with her life.

   To name all the virtuous women we’ve known and loved through years in the service of Christ Jesus would be a lengthy list indeed! Their deaths do not diminish from our adoration of them, but rather permit a reflection that shines just as brightly now as when they lived. Granted, the physical appearance of all the lovely ladies will change as the years grace their faces, color their hair, and bow their bodies (Ecclesiastes 12: 1 – 7). Their true beauty is not that of the flesh, but of the heart. Therein lies the truest definition of the word virtue: “a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength” (Strong’s H2428). Such women are indeed, “a force, an army with wealth, valor and strength” found only in the priceless esteem of Proverbs 31: 10 – 31 …

   Or the Lord’s church! Remember, she is known as the “bride of Christ” and we need not think she would be anything less than virtuous to her eternal husband, Jesus Christ the King of kings, and Lord of lords! We, comprising His church, must examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) determining to obtain and practice the priceless quality of such virtue!