Saturday, October 27, 2012

Proverbs 31:16 (Part 2 of 2)

Proverbs 31:16b - ". . . with her earnings she plants a vineyard."

**I'm preparing myself ahead of time that there are women who will not agree with this. Please do not see this as my opinion. These are verses from God, not me. And if this verse from Proverbs had not come up, I would gladly stay away from this topic. However, it did come up, and if I'm going to share what God is teaching, it is my responsibility to share this as well.**

Titus 2:4-5 says, "These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands.Then they will not bring shame on the word of God."

There is so much in this verse that we, as "younger women" must be willing to learn. For the sake of this post we will cover two of those phrases. The first phrase is "to work in their homes". God's desire is for His women to be in the home. I know that there are situations where the woman must work outside the home (divorce, death). However, God's design and plan is for the women to be in the home, and to do otherwise, except out of true need (not simply because we are living outside our means), brings "shame on the Word of God".

As women, we were created for one purpose (besides the obvious, which is to bring glory to God), and that is to be a helper for our husbands. In Genesis 2:18 God declares this purpose, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him."

The second phrase from Titus is "to be submissive to their husbands". When we were first married, my husband's job did not pay enough for me to be able to stay home and us still pay the bills. He required me to continue going to work. He was not trying to be mean. He was not trying to be domineering and exert his "power". He was simply doing what he felt needed to be done in order for our family to stay committed to the financial obligations we had set up for ourselves. There are other men who also require their wives to work. As women we are supposed "to be submissive to (our) husbands" whether we agree with them or not.

So what about those families whose cost of living (rent, groceries, etc) exceed the husband's income, as was our case when we first got married? This is where our Proverbs 31 woman comes in. Verse 16 shows us that Gd is not opposed to his women earning money. He simply wants us to do it from our home. He wants us to use the abilities He has given us to help our husbands with the finances.

Two things stand out to me as I read that she "planted a vineyard". The first is her ability. Maybe she chose to plant the vineyard because it was all she knew how to do. Maybe it was because she has a love for gardening. Whichever the case, she chose something that was in her ability. The second is that she didn't blow her money on unnecessary things. I'm not saying she didn't spend some of it on pretty things for her house or herself. However, she did chose to use, at least a good portion of it, for something that would benefit the entire family. Why should husband's paycheck have to stretch to cover bills even if it means he doesn't get to spend it on himself, but wife gets to use hers on herself? This woman was not a greedy, selfish woman. She used her earnings to do something within her ability, that she probably enjoyed, and that would benefit the entire family.

So what do we take away from this?
1.) The verse in Titus says that we are to be submissive to our husbands. It doesn't say "except for in the case of  . . ." Are we being submissive in all things? It's okay to share our opinion with our husband. We are his helper and sometimes our opinion helps him see things in a different light. It helps open his eyes to a different side of things. However, the final decision should be left to him with no arguing. If we don't agree, we need to talk to God about it and let Him deal with our husband.

2.) Are we using our abilities and resources to help in a way that will benefit the entire family? We are on a very strict budget and even something as simple as going to McDonald's and ordering off the Dollar Menu requires much saving, but we are able to pay the bills without me having to bring in extra money. I would like to be able to do fun things as a family, but I have not yet found something to do that uses my abilities and resources and doesn't put us in financial bondage in order to start doing it. However, when God does reveal to me that one thing, I have a responsibility to use it for the good of the family and not just myself.

This makes God sound like a mean, harsh man. He is not. He simply what knows what will make our households run the most efficiently and cause the least amount of stress on His women. We are His little girls. He doesn't want us overwhelmed and over worked and stretched to the limits. He was us peaceful and able to help our husbands. He wants us to be able to put aside our wants and desires and submit to the man He has put in charge of our well being. Let's follow God's plan for our lives and leave the results to Him.

Proverbs 31:16 (Part 1 of 2)

Wow! It has been a LONG time! Everyday I think to myself that I need to write another post, that it has been way too long since the last. However, the more time that goes by, the harder it is to pick up and run with it. I spend too much time trying to figure out what I should say about each verse. The truth is, I don't have to know what to say. All this was supposed to be is me sharing what God has shown me through each particular verse. So, before I lose steam, I'm just gonna jump back in where I left off. I'll do another post (later tonight if these two girls still haven't given in to sleep, or tomorrow, if they have!) about all the things that have gone on in our lives the past months in my absence! Here goes . . .

Proverbs 31:16 says, "She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard."

This is another one of those verses that I've read dozens of times and skip over. When I come across verses like this, I have to remind myself that God chose to have it included in His Holy Word so there MUST be a reason for it. He has something He wants me and all of His other women to learn from it. So what is it?

I think it is important to note that it doesn't state that she purchased the field with her earnings. It doesn't even mention her earnings until the second part of the verse. The way this verse is written tells me that she used her husband's earnings to purchase the field. In modern families, where the husband goes to work and the wife stays home, the money is the husband's "earnings", but it is "our" money. I think the same was true then. The husband earned the money and (given the role of women in those days) he was probably responsible for the "checkbook", but it was their money. The fact that she was the one who went out and inspected the field and bought it says a lot about his trust for her.

1.) He trusted her ability to know a worthy investment. Let's face it. While there are some women who can look under the hood of the car and immediately know every part they lay eyes on and even some of the unseen parts, the majority of us are doing good to be able to refill the windshield washer fluid!! Cars are typically a guy thing. The majority of dads would not turn away their daughter if she came asking to learn about the car. However, most girls wouldn't think of asking, and most dads wouldn't think to suggest it. In this day and age, it is becoming more common to teach the daughter to change a tire so she isn't stranded on the side of the road at the mercy of any strange man that happens to stop and offer help, but teaching in depth car repair is just not done. That said, imagine that your family needs a new vehicle, but finances say it must be a used vehicle. No one would buy a used vehicle without looking under the hood. However, you gotta know what you're looking for or it's pointless to look. The Proverbs 31 Woman's husband trusted her knowledge enough to send her to buy a "used vehicle" and to know she was getting a good deal. This meant that they must have spent time talking about fields. He shared his knowledge of a good vs bad field. He trusted he had done a good job teaching her and he trusted that she had truly listened and learned from him what she needed to know. It doesn't say she was interested. She listened because it was important to him. Our husbands know when we're truly listening and when we're just "nodding and smiling" while thinking about something else. The things he's telling us may not be interesting, they may not be things we feel are important, but listen. Truly listen. Listen because he thinks it's important enough to tell you about it, and listen because one day the information just may be necessary.

2.) He trusted her ability to make wise decisions and not decisions based on her wants. His and hers. Our needs are different. Our wants are different. It is very easy to put our wants ahead of other peoples' wants. The typical reaction, for most people, is to think of self first. We want the house on the beach. It doesn't matter that the area has had 15 hurricanes in the past 5 years. This house is perfect. We have to have this house. Our wants are so dominant that we can't see past them to the bigger picture. We want the bigger vehicle. It doesn't matter that we don't have any children and don't ever plan to. It doesn't matter that we never carry large loads of anything anywhere. We must have that 15 passenger van. Who cares that our budget says we can only afford $5 of gas a week, and we would never be able to go anywhere in it? It is perfect! And so we buy the bigger vehicle instead of the smaller, more economical one we can afford to drive. The end result means nothing and has no affect on us. I don't know what it is you want. You don't know my wants. That doesn't matter though. What matters is whether we are willing to put aside our wants to make choices that will benefit the entire family instead of just ourselves. We've all been guilty of this. Maybe not as drastic as the scenarios I've just described, but we've been there, done that. The Proverbs 31 Woman's husband knew that she wouldn't choose a field simply because it was what she wanted. She was going to look into it. She was going to make sure it was a good field and worth the money being asked. She was going to make sure it was in a convenient area for everyone and not make the purchase just because it was near her best friend's field and they'd be able to see each other every day. He knew that she would not be selfish in her decision. He trusted her to do the right thing.

3.) He trusted her financial ability. He trusted that she could recognize a good deal. We all love a good deal. If that wasn't the case, there would never be price wars. There would never be sales. There wouldn't be coupons. :-/ Can you imagine the horror of that last one?!? (That's for you Chelle!) There would only be one brand of each item in the stores. There is no denying that people love a good deal and will gravitate toward it.
A.) There are times when there is a need - meds, etc (cuz it's 1:47 AM, and I can't think of anything else at the moment!) - there is no time to search for a better deal, and the purchase must be made. Can our husband trust that we will only spend "unnecessary" money in this type of situation (in which case it actually become necessary since the item is necessary and there is no other option!)?
B.) Let's say you need a new article of clothing - wedding dress, coat or shoes for a growing child, etc - and the place you are at has a good sale. If you find the type of item you're looking for but don't fall in love with the style, don't buy it. It'll end up sitting in the back of a closet, untouched, which is a waste of money. It'll probably also end up being replaced when we do find a style we love, which means, unless we got a great deal on both, we most likely spent more than we originally intended. Can our husband trust that we won't purchase a "field" just because we're tired of looking and ready to be done with it all? Can he trust that we'll pursue all of our options until we've found a good financial deal that still meets our standards?
C.) One more . . . Sometimes we get caught up in the whole idea that we have to buy a certain brand because everyone else does. Or we have to shop at certain stores and avoid others simply because all the people we know shop there. It doesn't matter that the same exact item can be gotten at a different place for a better price. Can our husband trust us to put aside our desires to be like everyone else and instead "buy a cheaper field" in an area our friends don't think is good enough, as long as it still meets the standards we've set?

Can our husband trust our ability? If he sent us out to "buy a field" could he trust us to inspect it and to purchase it only if it meets set standards and is a benefit to all?