This week we are focusing on verses 16 and 17 which state
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
So what does this teach us? First, this woman can make decisions. She buys the field, the Bible doesn't tell us that she asks her husband if she should buy it, she checks it out, considers it. I assume that she looks into how it will benefit her family, whether it is a wise investment. Then after she buys the land, she uses her earnings to plant a vineyard to earn more money for the family. To me this means that she obviousl has an income of her own. Now some of you are going to say that a woman should not work outside of the house. Others will say that of course a woman should work outside of the house. It is not my intention to jump on either bandwagon. The thing that I do want to point out is this, the Proverbs 31 woman FIRST cares for her family and those she is responsible for. She has earned her husbands trust (why else would he be comfortable with her purchasing her own land, planting her own vineyard). She rises early to gather and prepare food for her family and servants. If you read the rest of the description, she stays busy caring for and providing for her family. Family is her priority, not working to earn an income.
Verse 17 states that she sets about her work vigorously, and has been doing so for some time, long enough to strengthen her arms for her tasks. Yet another sore spot for me. I constantly battle against laziness, or as the Bible calls it, being a sluggard. Given the choice between sitting in my chair and tickling the keys on my computer and getting up to clean the house, load the dishwasher, wash the laundry, run the vacuum, mop the floor, scrub the tub and everything else, I will always chose the sluggard way of sitting and procrastinating all of the work. This is a bad thing! God talks in 1 Timothy 5 about women (in this case young women who are widows and without family to care for) and says they should remarry, care for the family, stay busy or "... they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not." Satan knows our hearts, he knows women are prone to becoming busybodies and gossips. We were created to care for others, it isn't that much of a stretch to go from caring for someone and telling others about a persons struggles in an effort to bring them aid to telling others about a person to just tell others. I know that personally this is something that I struggle with.
As a SAHM, sometimes my life just seems boring, unexciting, and just less than. At times I get wrapped up in the life of a neighbor, a friend, a person at church. That in and of itself isn't really a bad thing. It is when I start to share my observations with others, not asking for prayer for them, but as a gossipy comparison type thing. I have caught myself doing the "yeah, I hear what you are saying, but let me tell you about what happened to ..." I am not telling the story in an attempt to help someone, either the person I am talking about or the person I am talking to. I am relaying the story to draw attention to me. THAT is the bad thing, that is gossip, that is being a busybody. That is what I struggle with.
This is not the only place that the warning against idleness. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 tells us, "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you," and again in Titus 2:4-5, "Then they (older women) can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. "
So this week make it your mission to avoid idleness, to look for ways you can benefit your family financially. Let me know how you are doing.