A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 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. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.I wanted to continue my series on the Proverbs 31 woman...remembering that I'm not necessarily supposed to do what she does but to notice her character, who she is which influences all she does. So far we have seen that she is noble, precious, eager, vigorous and strong (see links in passage above to view earlier posts.) Today I want to focus on one sentence. "She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night." Proverbs 31:18 (NIV)
Her trading is profitable. Recall from our earlier studies that the Proverbs 31 woman is quite the entrepreneur. She weaves wool and linen and sells her wares to merchant ships, then uses her profits to buy a field and plant a vineyard. She is a businesswoman, and a shrewd one who wants to make a profit. I am not much of a businesswoman, and in my work with my husband I bring in very little extra income for our family, but I view my role in our finances not so much by what I can bring in as what I can keep from going out. Over the last few years this skill has be severely tested. I still have a lot to learn. I am not, for example, very good at using coupons and that sort of thing. The main way I try to keep money in the coffers longer is by using our resources wisely. My favorite way to do this is to use our food as completely as possible. For example, I love using my crockpot to cook meat, and my husband likes his meat with lots of sauce. Usually after the meat is all gone there is still sauce left over, and for a while I didn't know what to do with it. Now I turn it into soup and get another meal (or two sometimes) out of it. It's simple! Sometimes I throw in some leftover vegetables and/or other meat, sometimes I mix it with a can of store-bought soup. Leftover mashed potatoes make a great thickening agent. Add some broth, milk, or water as needed for thinning. I just imagine the flavors, and guesstimate the thickness. These soups are usually so good that my husband tells me to write down the recipe. Sure - a little of this, a little of that, mix it all up until it tastes good. I love how it stretches the food budget and keeps the leftovers interesting, even for the kids.
That sort of profit is all well and good, but there is an extra layer of meaning here that we can't pass up. Remember that the Proverbs 31 woman is as precious as rubies, which is a picture of Wisdom.
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Proverbs 3:13-14 (NIV, emphasis mine)
Regardless of our financial footing, finding wisdom and understanding is where the Real profit lies.
|photo by Daniel R. Blume via Flickr|
Be Wise, be prepared, don't let your lamp go out.