From the Bible on Business – Biblical Role Model of Proverbs 31 lady

“She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:16-31‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

A Biblical Role Model

We are called to love God and neighbor – among all peoples. So we should do business for God and the common good. This was also a foundational principle for the Quakers even centuries ago, who started many long-standing businesses, like Cadbury’s chocolate.

Pope John Paul II stated a business firm needs to make a profit and it should be “at the service of the whole of society.”

Thus we should aim at multiple bottom-lines and also serve multiple stakeholders. Business shall serve people, be good stewards of the planet, align with God’s purposes and make a profit.

The Bible portrays a businesswoman as a role model; she shaped her business for God and for good. Let’s look at some verses in Proverbs 31 and translate them into modern day business language:

She considers a field and buys it; 

She does a market assessment and invests.

KB – She is a person of decisive action. She has the spirit of an entrepreneur. She doesn’t wait for good business to happen to her, she happens to business.

Out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 

She makes a profit and reinvests. She sees that her trading is profitable, she keeps books and manages cash flow.

KB – She leverages her assets and is diversified. She is willing, perhaps eager, to take calculated risks.

She makes linen garments and sells them, she is involved in manufacturing and retail and supplies the merchants with sashes. 

She has set up a supply chain.

KB – She is truly successful entrepreneur. She manufactures and sells.

She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 

She uses part of her profit for charitable work.

KB – She knows that blessing others is a privilege and makes room for God to further bless her so she can give more,

She provides food for her family. 

She is the breadwinner of the family and portions for her staff and provides employment.

KB – She contributes to her households essentials.

Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Her work in business should be recognized and is certainly commendable.

We pray: Lord help us to follow you in the marketplace – to the ends of the earth; loving God and serving people through business!

Mats Tunehag hails from Sweden and is a leader in the Business As Mission movement.


Continued by Kirk Booher with comments marked above as KB

She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.

Her strength clearly comes from the Lord. She is focused and disciplined. She is strong in the Lord foremost surrounding and centering herself in Him. She abides with God.

She perceives that her merchandise is good,

She knows her market, the demand and ensures the quality of her product is high. Her sales confirm that her offering is attractive. She makes it so. Quality is important to her. She knows the value of her service and doesn’t give it away for less than it’s worth.

And her lamp does not go out by night.

She is not only a smart worker but a hard worker. With all that is on her plate, she balances her schedule and isn’t lazy. She gets the job done and fulfills her commitments.

She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.

The lady makes it happen. When necessary, she jumps in and isn’t afraid to do the work.

She shall rejoice in time to come.

In due time, by working smart and hard when she doesn’t have to she won’t have work when she is old. She makes hay while the sun is shining, not in the dead of night. Her efforts will bring her joy in a job well done and a life well lived.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

She speaks and shares her experience and success principles to those who want to hear. She practices the Golden Rule and encourages other people with nice words.

She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.

She attends to the needs of others she lives with and is a excellent example. She is busy about her day and doesn’t loaf (by not eating the bread of idleness 🙂

Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:

Her family appreciates her. They say it and show it.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.”

She respects God and submits to His will. She is praiseworthy and God will she that she remains blesses even as she ages and loses her external beauty. Her fine legacy shall live on.

Prayer: God helps us learn and practice these deeds and be a Proverbs 31 person like this fine lady.