Proverbs 31:19 illustrated with a spinning wheel

3 Ways to Work by Hand and Live Simply

   I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how to use a spinning wheel.  I did try spinning once at a craft festival, and it is a lot harder than it looks.  While I think it would be fun to learn, I don’t think that you have to use a spinning wheel to be a Proverbs 31 woman and live out the principles of Proverbs 31:19.  We are going to look at what the spinning wheel meant to the Proverbs 31 woman and her family.  Then we’ll dive into 3 ways you can work with your hands on a journey to simple living.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

Proverbs 31:19

The Proverbs 31 Woman Worked With Her Hands (Proverbs 31:19)

     The Proverbs 31 woman was proficient in working with her hands.  She was not afraid to do the work herself instead of relying on others.  This is not the first verse in this passage that has mentioned her working with her hands.  Here we find her using a spinning wheel.  Probably she was spinning thread that would be woven into cloth.  The cloth could be used to make clothing for her family and to sell.

     From Proverbs 31:19, we see how the Proverbs 31 woman kept her hands busy to care for her family.  She made sure that they had the clothing they needed.  Back in Bible days, many people didn’t have the privilege of shopping for their clothing.  What they and their families wore, they made with their own hands.

     While most of us don’t have to make our own clothes now unless we want to, there are still some ways that we can apply the idea of working with our own hands to our lives.  These concepts are right in line with simple living.  Let’s look at a few of them.

Lady using a spinning wheel Proverbs 31:18

1. Slow Down and Learn New Skills (Proverbs 31:19)

    Learning any new skill takes time.  I couldn’t just sit down at a spinning wheel and make a nice piece of thread.  Only those who have incredible talent from the Lord can pick up a musical instrument and play it, and those people are few and far between.  Skills take time, effort, and energy.

     Is there a new skill you would like to learn, or one that you have started and would like to develop further?  You probably said “yes” to this question.  I know that I personally have quite a few skills I would like to develop.  But it would not be a good idea for me to try to work on them all at once.

     As you simplify your life, you will be able to make time to work on these skills that are important to you and that you can use to glorify God and bless others.  Don’t make the mistake of drifting through life without any direction and without learning.  At the same time, don’t make the mistake of trying to learn too many things at one time.  Also, don’t try to cram another activity into an overstuffed schedule.

     Right now, think about one skill that you would like to develop further.  Make a mental note of it.  Then, think about how you can incorporate it into your life.  If that seems overwhelming, step back and think about something you could spend less time doing to make room for this skill.  Most likely you have some activities that aren’t going to bring about lasting good as this skill could.  Limit your time on one or two of those activities, and you will have time to work on something valuable!

Lady playing violin

2. Learn to Work by Hand to Prepare

     We already talked about how we don’t have to spin thread for our clothing as the Proverbs 31 woman did.  There are many conveniences that we have that she did not.  However, I believe that it is still important for us to learn to do some things by hand.  That way, if we are ever in a situation where we need these skills, we will be prepared.

     Knowing how to do things by hand can come in “handy” in so many different scenarios.  It could be that your power goes out for a little while and you need to cook without using electric appliances.  Or, maybe you travel somewhere that has less conveniences than you are used to.  I have spent time off-grid in Mexico where we had to wash our clothes in a bucket.  There are so many places where people live differently than we do. 

     If you have taken the time to learn a few skills by hand, then it will make you more adaptable to learn other new ones when the situation arises.  Is there a skill you would like to learn to be prepared for the future?  It’s something for us both to think about.

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. 

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Hands holding ball of dough

3. Take Time to Relax and Work with Your Hands

     Working with your hands can be so much more relaxing and slow-paced.  True, doing things by hand usually takes longer, and there is a place for using machinery or buying things premade.  But, there is also a place for working with your hands.  What does it matter if it takes a little longer?  The point of life is not to always rush through everything as fast as you can. 

     If you empty out your schedule so that you are not always running behind, you will have time to sometimes take the longer yet more relaxing route.  Enjoy pursuing some sort of craft that you make by hand.  Take some time to sit down and play that instrument.  God gave us hands to use in creating things and doing things for His glory.

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Ephesians 4:28

Hands knitting

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Simple Takeaway

  1.  Take the time to learn a new skill or work on one that you would like to improve.  To make room for this activity, cut back the amount of time you are spending doing things that don’t really matter.
  2. Be prepared!  Learning to work with your hands prepares you for situations you may find yourself in and for whatever jobs God has for you in the future.
  3. Take some time to relax and work with your hands.  Do something that you enjoy doing by hand, even if it takes longer.  Slow down and enjoy using the hands that God has given you.

Let’s Chat!

     What skill would you like to improve or learn?  Is there something that you already enjoy doing by hand?

     Until next time, use your hands to honor the Lord and bless others!

In Christ,


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  1. This was a really good post, Bethany! Being able to do things by hand is a good skill to have!

    1. Thank you, Hannah! Yes, it is. Plus, it helps you to have an opportunity to slow down, think, and focus.

  2. Such a good post, Bethany! I agree with all three of these points.

    1. Thank you, Lilly! Working by hand can be so beneficial as well as bring a lot of pleasure.

      For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. Psalm 92:4

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