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. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. (Proverbs 31:10-20)We're revisiting the Proverbs 31 woman, continuing to focus on her character and who she is. In this week's verse we learn first more detail about her work - that she spins thread, then we learn that she is generous to the poor and needy. By the juxtaposition of these verses I imagine that she is generous not only with her money, but also with her time and resources. Perhaps she gives away some of the thread or cloth that she makes. She does this knowing the principle already explained earlier in Proverbs:
"...blessed is he who is kind to the needy." (Proverbs 14:21b, NIV)
"A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." (Proverbs 21:9, NIV)
It appears that in God's economy being generous is a safety net both for the recipient and for the giver. There are several provisions in the Old Testament law to protect and provide for the poor, the widow, the orphan and the alien.
There is a whole lot of needy going on in the world around us. I pray that God will show me new ways to be generous to the needs He puts in my path.