She extends her hand to the poor
And she stretches out her hand to the needy
A mighty woman of God, woman of noble character, is a woman who is charitable. She is able to look outside herself and see the needs of others and finds ways to help.
I love what Matthew Henry has to say about this verse:
She is as intent upon giving as she is upon getting; she often serves the poor with her own hand, and she does if freely, cheerfully, and very liberally, with an out-stretched hand. Nor does she relieve her poor neighbours only, and those that are nigh at hand, but she reaches forth her hands to the needy that are at a distance, seeking opportunities to do good and to communicate, which is as good housewifery as any thing she does.1
Being charitable isn’t something she does, it is something she is. It flows out of her heart and spirit and into her out-stretched hands. She gives to the poor and feeds the hungry. She fills the needs, not just those she sees around her but also the needs worlds away.
This is a characteristic that we are all called to, not just us women. In Hebrews we read that we should not “neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16) We are called to love one another and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. As we provide for our own needs we are to provide for the needs of others. John writes in his first epistle that whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17) Our giving is an expression of love; it is how God’s love is extended to the world through us.
In Jesus’ teaching about the end times he speaks about the day when all peoples will be separated between those who know Jehovah and those who do not. Those who truly knew Him were the ones who fed the hungry, were hospitable to strangers, clothed the naked, and visited the sick and imprisoned. He says that “to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:31-46) It is the charitable ones who knew God. As James writes our faith is shown by our works. (James 2:18)
1. Henry, Matthew. "Commentary on Proverbs 31." . Blue Letter Bible. 1 Mar 1996.2013. 15 Jul 2013.