Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Challenge #6: Proverbs 31:16

My Time as a Proverbs 31:15 Woman:

So, as you know, this verse was a struggle for me! It fell on the 2 weeks my kids were sick and I didn't get much sleep - making it even harder to get up earlier! But, I DID get up before the kids a few days last week and was able to get myself ready and enjoy some time downstairs reading my Bible and praying before they woke up. I felt so refreshed and ready to start my day afterwards. Usually, I try to squeeze my devotionals in sometime during the day, but now I realize how important it is to do it in the morning! This is something that I am definitely going to continue to work on.

In the morning when I rise, help me to prioritize all the thoughts that fill my day.
Before my schedule tells me that my day is full, before I'm off and on my way.
I want to praise You, I need to praise You.
Let the first song that I sing, be praises to my God and King.

- Sara Groves, "First Song That I Sing"

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
- Jeremy Camp, "Give me Jesus"

Challenge #6: Proverbs 31:16

"She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."

There are three actions the Proverbs 31 Woman uses in this verse. First, she considers, then she buys and lastly she plants. Let's take a look at what these actions mean to us.

Action #1) To Consider
(to think carefully about, contemplate, reflect on)
This godly woman has thought carefully about purchasing this field. She doesn't do it rashly or on a sudden impulse. Instead, she first thinks about her family and goals for them before purchasing something for herself. She does her homework - she considers the value of the property, she considers what her husband thinks, she considers the state of her family's finances, she considers the time commitment and she considers her priorites. Her family is her primary area of ministry and responsibility, so she wisely considers whether working on the field will threaten those priorites.

You know when you pass a store and you see the big red sign - the CLEARANCE sign?! For me, it is so tempting to go in there and buy a lot of stuff (that I really don't need) all because it was a "great deal"! Sure, you can find some good deals once in a while and that's okay - we should be frugal! But its important that we don't just buy something without considering if we really need it or if we should be spending our money on it. You (and/or your husband) work hard for that money and God has given you that money to provide for your family.

Consider what is important when shopping. Do you really need it? Can it benefit your family in any way?

Consider what is important when you have free time. Is there something you can do for someone else? What can you do to benefit your family?

Consider what is important as you look through your finances. Is there something you can cut out that will allow for more money to benefit your family? Is there some extra that you could give to someone else to benefit their family?

And most importantly, consider what your husband has to say on the matter. You are a team, and you need to be making decisions together.

Action #2) To Buy
(to acquire the possession of by paying in an equivelent)

After much thought, the Proverbs 31 Woman decides to purchase the land. The fact that she buys the field indicates that she was involved in the financial decisions of the family. This woman's efforts - her financial management, her hard work, her going without some of the things she might have wanted - all paid off so she can acquire this land that she wanted to buy to help provide for her family.

What about you and me - how can we apply this action to our lives? We need to be ready and looking for ways to help provide for and better our families. We can start by sacrificing things we don't necessarily need but that we really want (such as new shoes, a new purse, home decor, the list could go on and on) and instead use that money to build our families up and care for them.

When an opportunity comes to better care for and provide for your family, we need to be ready and able to do so. We don't want to be thinking "If only I'd saved that money for this...".

Action #3) To Plant
(to put or set in the ground for growth)

Lastly, she plants. The purpose of the field was to plant a vineyard to provide for her family and others. Her choice of crops was wise. Her land was dry and water was scarce, grapes and wine were staples. Everyone needs fluids to drink, so by owning her personal vineyard she takes care of her family and whatever is left over she can sell to others.

We have a small garden right now but we hope to make it bigger within the next year or so. But man, it is a lot of work! After finding where you want your garden, you have to frame it out, dig up the dirt, put fresh dirt down, then the corresponding fertilizer to each plant you've chosen, then actually plant all your seeds/plants, then you have to water it and care for it on a daily basis! Okay, I don't actually do all that - my wonderful husband does! But, he offered and he's good at it so I'll just let him handle it. Anyway, that's just a small garden - imagine how much labor it must have required to care for a vineyard!

Simply put - we need to be ready to work. Once we've considered what would benefit our family, then we've taken the opportunity into our hands by aquiring it, we need to be ready to maintain it. We need to be good stewards of what the Lord has blessed us with.

This Week:

*Ask the Lord to provide you with:
- Patience: so that you will wait before you act when opportunities arise.
- Prudence: so that you will carefully think things over while you are waiting.
- Prayerfulness: so that you will seek the Lord's wisdom while you are waiting and thinking.
- Petition: so that you will willingly consult your husband (or parents) after you've waited, thought and prayed.
- Purpose: so that God will guide your heart in the right direction.
- Perseverence: so that you will do whatever it takes to make your dreams for your family come true.

*Devote yourself to God's goals - and that means FAMILY comes first! Your goal is to build your house, build an honorable name for your family, and build up the next generation. Never mind what you're going to get in return. Selfless service is a great virtue.

*Be creative! As you continue to set yourself aside and serve others, God will show you ways to creatively provide for and encourage others.

(some thoughts taken from "Beautiful In God's Eyes" by Elizabeth George)

1 comment:

  1. Great post Julie. Very well thought out and written! I am enjoying reading your challenges and have been working on them along with you. As a woman, we all know the challenge it is to be in charge of ALL the shopping of the house. Sometimes you can get caught up during clearance time getting clothes for everyone for next year! One thing that keeps me in check is our lack of storage, I just don't have room for much. What helps for me, is if it is something over $20, I typically sleep on it for a night or two. Anyways, keep up the good work!