“Who can find a virtuous woman?
For her price is far above rubies.
(Proverbs 31:10, KJV)
I have a wife who volunteers for hospice care, makes home and hospital visits with her minister (that’s me), prepares meals for the homeless every Thursday, works as a nurse’s aid, and finds more ways to support her husband than he ever expected. Last week, she went to Kamiah, Idaho, to help distribute vital goods to people who lost everything in a recent fire. Not only that, I have never heard my wife cuss! Okay, that’s a seven week feat that has survived many temptations while in the passenger seat with me at the wheel.
Last July 18th, while driving north toward St. Marie, Idaho, I asked my new wife if she wanted to play the virtue game. She asked how and I told her that if we started, we could never stop. Then I asked her to name a virtue for the day.
Since it was our wedding day, I expected her to select “love!” Without hesitating, she chose, “courage,” claiming that it was at the root of all virtue.
C.S. Lewis agrees with my wife. He said, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” Winston Churchill also agrees: “Courage is the first of the human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.”
I realized I was in good company.
The next day, we chose “humility” as the virtue of the day. We soon saw it on display at a tiny church where our presence pulled the attendance up to nine. The minister gave his all in earnest through the Bible class and worship service. We saw great humility in his undaunted effort to be bold and faithful in such humble circumstances.
Monday began with a trip to the local sheriff’s office to inform them of the three extremely threatening unleashed dogs we encountered the night before. “Patience” was that day’s virtue and we saw it on the mission statement for the sheriff’s department. Later, while driving off into the sunset, we listened to a CD by Eric Metaxas titled “7 Men And the Secret to Greatness.” Patience was used twice to describe George Washington.
The next day, “wisdom” was the word and Metaxas used it for the great William Wilberforce who used his political role as a Christian to abolish the slave trade in England over 200 years ago.
Other virtues that graced our honeymoon were, “joy,” “shalom”, and “gentleness,” a word Mary Ellen chose with her late mother in mind.
One day, we worked on the word “beauty.” On this, Mary Ellen is a natural. Together, we looked for beauty in our smiles, our words, our tone, and our timing. We sought beauty as an attitude rather than merely an attribute.
Admittedly, things have gotten ugly on a few occasions but such moments are no match for all the virtues we have called up daily for mutual instruction and application—especially “forgiveness.”
As the weeks passed, we ran short of English words and resorted to some New Testament Greek words to inspire us. Included among those my wife has chosen are:
- “Charizomai” – gracious forgiveness or generosity.
- Hypostasso” – submission!
Without a doubt, a virtuous woman, I have found.