“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” (Proverbs 31:16-18)
I love this verse. There are reasons for this. First, I know a lot of people who perceive that the ideal woman should be a homemaker – a stay at home mom. This scripture – thankfully from my perspective – shows that women in the Bible have choices. While this is not to suggest that a stay at home mother is not a wonderful way to raise a family, it shows that this option is not the only way. In this scriptural text, the woman purchases a field with money earned from the fruit of her hands and plants a vineyard. It is here that my thinking begins, recognizing that women can have careers that include either working from home or leaving the house for a career at a predetermined work destination.
As you know from previous blogs, I have seriously battled with my decision to be a working mom or a stay at home. Right now, I believe I have found the perfect medium. I am currently working a few evenings a week. It is just enough to let me taste the professional workplace while still – technically, being at home with my boys.
The two points that most stand out (to me) is that the woman in these scriptures is working hard (vigorously) and that her work is profitable. For me, this one section has so much meaning. She sees reward in her work. And likewise, her lamp does not go out at night. (Proverbs 31:18) I hear so often how people hate their jobs. They dread going to work. Day after day, they spend their working hours in misery. For whatever reason — be it money, social pressure, filling time — they continue in a daily drudgery that was never intended by their Lord and Saviour. The problem too is that these people spend anywhere from 25% – 60% of their week at work, driving to work, or thinking about work. That is far too large of a chunk of one’s lifetime to spend in misery.
As women in God, we need to think differently, like the woman in this example. When something is profitable, it is more than just the money that has to come into play. The work itself has to be beneficial. But when something is sucking away your joy, then it is not beneficial to you! Proverbs 31:17 said that she sets about her work vigorously. When you work vigorously at something, you put your all and all into it. Your mind is focused on the tasks at hand. The tendency is to use both physical capabilities and your emotions to reach your goal, which in the case of the woman in Proverbs was to purchase a field.
A recent comment from a friend of mine’s fiancé — that women allow their emotions into work and that is why they often find it more challenging – added a different dimension to my thinking. He did not mean it as a snarky comment because this man is very open to women being in the workplace. However, his point had some measure of truth because many women do bring their emotions to work with them. Some women, like me do not show emotions while completing my specific tasks but when the job is done, I feel it. Others have confirmed that they feel the emotional pressure throughout — before, during and after — their tasks are complete.
Regardless, the woman in Proverbs obviously enjoyed what she did because when you read the verses in context, she has been able to effectively balance work and life. For her, work was profitable — beneficial – and not just for her but to her entire family as well. There is no way that she would have been able to maintain and EXCEL in all the other areas of her life if her work was constantly taking away her joy.
Read these verses again but this time take time to meditate on her confidence. She is not alone in her vision. This woman’s husband is praising her because she is assisting with providing for her family. He states that “she sees.” By showing us that “she sees” her trading is profitable. And herein, the husband speaks a certain confidence about this woman.
Too many times, I see women who are not seeing their achievements because we do not want to become proud, or conversely, we feel that we do not deserve the praise. We have all heard many times scriptures that focus on being proud. “Pride cometh before a fall” is only one example. Too often though, we make assumptions about what these verses mean without verifying the scripture in context?
Indeed, we need to see our value. In fact, our Lord God and Saviour wants us to be confident. He wants you and I to EXCEL! Hebrews 35-36 states: “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has GREAT REWARD. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.” Pride admittedly has its downfall but confidence in yourself is not the same. When women have confidence, the Lord can use them. How many times have we watched a YouTube video of people who have experienced multiple struggles, disability, loss, or extreme poverty but their message has gone viral on the internet (viewed by hundreds of thousands of people) because they had confidence. They were not afraid of what other people would think of them because they already knew what it was like to be on the outside of society.
Unfortunately, there are Christians out there who do not step forward because they fear for what other people might say. But Joshua 1:9 states: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Imagine. The Lord your God is with you wherever we go. Everywhere we go. So, ladies, do not be afraid to step out and see that your “trading is profitable.” Why? Because God has placed you on this earth to serve Him in everything you do.
As with anything, there are numerous ways to save. But what if I do not work? How do I become that ideal mother and wife when I am not technically “providing” for my family? There are many women who do not “earn” money through a career or other means of income. So, does that mean these same women cannot achieve their goals? No. We are instructed to become profitable in Christ by faith, seeking first Him and His righteousness so that ALL these things can be added unto you.
To quote a very familiar saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Therefore, ladies, take your rightful place as a woman of faith who uses money wisely.
Using coupons, for example, can lead to household savings. Yes, as a cashier, I know that coupons can be a pain to deal with them but ultimately, the customer(s) save money. I had one lady come through my till last week who told me her vehicle was loaded with groceries. She had an initial budget of $100 and when she finished had only spent $80. Well as anyone who has ever had to buy groceries, toiletries and other household products knows firsthand, you DO NOT fill a vehicle FULL with $80. This woman did though and in this she created a profit for her household finances.
Other ways to be frugal and save money include shutting off lights, not using excessive water, planning your trips so that you save gas, turning down the heat or by recycling. These are simple tasks that with very little work can save money wisely.
Most of all, do not let your lamp go out. Use the amazing wisdom and knowledge that God has given you to bring His glory into your household. In other words, use the fruit of her hands to plant a vineyard. Use your talents to let His light shine through you regardless of your individual circumstances. And, do so whether you are the income provider in your household or the woman being provided for. As we have read in Proverbs, the gospel holds no limitations so ladies — EXCEL. Be confident in your Saviour! And should a time ever come when you fail, as has every woman at one point or another, receive His wonderful grace and favour on your life once again. Let your light shine.