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.