Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. (Proverbs 31:10—NIV)

I am not sure of the motivation for people on both sides of the woman’s lib aisle to taut this year’s assessed value of the stay-at-home mom at $117,000. There is a biblical way of handling the subject which defies the usual calculations. Placing the virtuous woman’s value above earthly reckoning is at the root of the Judeo-Christian ethic which elevates the personhood of women, and creates a worthy ideal for all women to which all women should aspire.

Though the context is of a mother teaching her son what to value in his search for a wife, the verse introduces the subject of worthy, capable womanhood. It therefore is a verse for all women regardless of age or marital status.

The search is on. Every mom needs to teach her sons the value of the hunt for excellence in a woman to be his wife. The question stands out, who can find a woman of virtue? It implies rarity, diligence, uniqueness, consuming pursuit, contest, intelligent quest, personal effort, satisfying accomplishment, and singular uniqueness.

Virtue is strength or excellence. It is strength of spirit, both management of her own spirit and that of others. It is strength of resolve. There is forceful valor in her thoughts, actions and deeds. Parallel verses expounding the value of “the hunt” for a woman of virtue are found in Proverbs 12:4, 8:35, 18:22, and 19:14. This strength does not negate ladylike qualities, but rather the exercise of virtuous strength amplifies womanhood in what it means to be a true lady.

While the man is to search for the woman of virtue, the woman is to make it her pursuit to be a woman characterized by this strength of spirit. A woman must have a first love, a love for her Lord Jesus Christ which will set the pace for all other passions in her life. Make intimacy with God your first study all the rest of your days. There is adventure in godliness lived out in relationships with people where ever God puts you, with whom ever God puts you, and no matter what God sends your way.

The last phrase is full of wonder. God states that the woman of virtue has a value that is off the chart. There are many things undervalued in this world except to those who have learned the intrinsic worth of the unique. Hidden treasures are such until they are discovered, appraised, and acquired by the one who respects their worth. God and all who honor Him will prize the woman of virtue. Sister or brother, is there a lesson here for you?