“She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
. . .
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.”
Proverbs 31: 16-18, 24
As we discuss this passage, keep in mind that it is a big-picture view of a praiseworthy woman’s heart and life. Her husband is looking at the blessing she’s been over their lives. So while this passage is not prescriptive for us, it is describing a praiseworthy woman of God, and therefore, merits our respect and study.
VERSE 16: SHE CONSIDERS A FIELD AND BUYS IT; WITH THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS SHE PLANTS A VINEYARD.
Her prudence and resourcefulness is highlighted here. She “considers” the field. She’s not out doing “retail therapy,” buying things just to buy them. This gal’s goal is fruitfulness. Life. Benefit. After considering the field carefully, she buys it.
And with “the fruit of her hands,” which probably refers to the earnings from the things she had hand-made (remember her willing hands?), she’s able to plant a vineyard. No one plants a vineyard today, and enjoys grape jelly tomorrow. This act of planting is an investment. Her eye is toward fruitfulness, life, and what will have long-term benefit.
She is not just looking to today– today’s outfit, today’s meal, today’s problems. She is planning for the future, planting fruit that will not be eaten in a short amount of time. Her eyes range over the short- and long-term of life, and her hands and resources and mental acumen are all devoted to what will be fruitful in the long haul.
She’s also not letting her resources sit without usefulness. She buys the field, and then plants the vineyard, so that the fruit can be enjoyed sooner than if she waited.
She views her life as an investor, rather than as a consumer.
In your planning and work in your home, are you diligent to consider the long-term effects of your attitudes and actions? What is the likely outcome of the choices you are currently making? Are you prodding your family Godward, or toward a focus on sports, appearance, money, fame, and/or pleasure? In your parenting, the meals you serve, the way you talk to your husband, the commitments you make as a family, what fruit can you anticipate? Do you have a consumer mindset, or an investment mindset?
VERSE 17: SHE DRESSES HERSELF WITH STRENGTH AND MAKES HER ARMS STRONG.
This woman’s no weenie. She’s not at home because she can’t do anything else, and isn’t focused on her family because she’s an intellectual imbecile. No- she is strong and capable. Notice: she “makes her arms strong.”
This is something she works at. She increases in strength and capability, on purpose.
Are you growing in strength? Increasing in your ability to wisely parent your children? Pursuing a stronger marriage? Are you growing in your strength as a woman? How is your physical stamina? Are you pursuing strength and health so that you can continue being a blessing to your family?
VERSE 24: SHE MAKES LINEN GARMENTS AND SELLS THEM; SHE DELIVERS SASHES TO THE MERCHANT.
This is the “fruit of her hands” that verses 13, 16, and 31 refer to. She’s perpetually blessing her family and working at producing things that are valuable to others. She is not focused on “me-time.” Her skills are not used for self-gain (although the passage clearly shows that she benefits from using them). Her skills bless others. They are willing to pay for the items she produces, and she makes a profit.
Her hard work eventually pays off, in wisdom, growth, but also in financial provision for her family.
Are you diligent to do what will bless your family? Do you actively seek to grow in skill and ability? Are you using your God-given skills to provide value and benefit to others?
- What is one area where you have neglected the long-term view for your own short-term ease? How can you correct that today?
- Is there an area in your daily life where you need to grow stronger, so that you are more capable to meet the demands on you?
- Not every woman has access to learn and do every skill, but look at your real life. What skills has God given you? And what skills could you reasonably seek growth in over this next season of life?