Wisdom of Sustainability from Proverbs 31
Have you found yourself just trucking along in life, pursuing your routines of work, school, church, entertainment, and social life? Buying the necessary supplies for food, clothes, housing? As well as the unnecessary, but desirable, items your family craves for enjoying the pleasures of life?
It seems we so often live life focused on the present, day-to-day activities, without thinking much about dreams or plans for the future. And we hardly ever think about provisions for possible disruptions to our “normal” life routines – like serious illness, forest fires, destructive tornados, hurricane floods, winter ice storms – or worse. Quite frankly, who wants to think much about such depressing impending prospects? Those are the kinds of things we want to shake from our minds, and replace them with positive thinking, right?
Have you read Proverbs 31 lately?
I’ve recently found it interesting to consider it’s imperative and instructional wisdom for sustainable management in the home. What wisdom packed into those 22 verses (beginning with verse 10)!
I realize it’s talking about the lady of the home, as she manages and guides her household in developing a sustainable lifestyle. However, there is actually some helpful wisdom that can provide great guidance for all peoples everywhere. So, men are welcome to listen in too, if they are so inclined. 🙂
Guidance for Sustainability
Here’s what I’ve picked up from my recent reading of this passage about the wisdom of this amazing lady . . .
- She’s developed noble character, out of which everything else flows
- She’s trustworthy – “Her husband’s heart trusts in her” (V10).
- She’s kind and gracious – She brings her husband “good and not harm all the days of her life” (V12). “She opens her mouth with wisdom – a lesson of kindness is on her tongue” (V26).
- She pursues excellence – “She discerns that her business is good” (V18). “She makes her own luxurious coverings” (V22). “Many daughters have excelled, but you surpass them all” (V29).
- She cultivates her own wellbeing, so that she can be strong for others and for her many responsibilities
- She’s trained and developed her abilities — She’s “an accomplished woman” (V10).
- She seeks to maintain good health to have strength, vitality, and energy for her family and her work – “Strength and dignity are her clothing” (V25).
- Grooms herself attractively with dignity – “She makes her own luxurious coverings. Her clothing is fine linen and purple” (V22). “Strength and dignity are her clothing” (V25).
- Her speech is toned and measured with wisdom – “She opens her mouth with wisdom – a lesson of kindness is on her tongue” (V26).
- Caring for the wellbeing of her family (and whole household) is her primary focus and concern.
- She respects her husband and promotes his respectability among his peers and before his leaders – Her husband “lacks nothing valuable. She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life” (V11-12)” “Her husband is respected at the city gates, when he sits among the elders of the land” (V23).
- She cares for the needs of her children – “She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household” (V15). “She is not afraid of snow for her house, for her whole household is clothed in scarlet wool” (V21).
- She also cares for the wellbeing of those who work for her, her servants – “She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household, and portions for her servant girls” (V15). “She is not afraid of snow for her house, for her whole household is clothed in scarlet wool” (V21).
- She’s cheerfully industrious
- She works hard to meet the needs of her family – “She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness” (V27).
- Her work is physically active – “She selects wool and flax and her hands work willingly” (V13). “She girds herself with strength and invigorates her arms” (V17). “She extends her hands to the spindle and her palm grasps the spinning wheel” (V19).
- She’s a discerning buyer – “She is like merchant ships, bringing her sustenance from afar” (V14). “She considers a field and buys it” (V16).
- She grows at least some of their food – “She considers a field and buys it. From the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard” (V16).
- She prepares ahead of time for the possibility of future difficult seasons of life
- She engages futuristic thinking with entrepreneurial foresight (she works with her mind) – “She is like merchant ships, bringing her sustenance from afar” (V14). “She considers a field and buys it. From the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard” (V16). “She discerns that her business is good. Her lamp never goes out at night.” (V18). “She makes fine linens and sells them and supplies sashes to the merchants” (V24).
- Prepares for surviving and thriving thru the winter – “She is not afraid of snow for her house, for her whole household is clothed in scarlet wool” (V21). “She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness” (V27).
- She faces calamities without fear, because she knows she has prepared as best she can for the inevitable challenges in life – “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come (she can smile at the future – NASB)” (V25).
- She’s not self-absorbed but reaches out to those in need around her – “She spreads out her palms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy.” (V20).
- She knows the secret of her success is from the One who enables and blesses her endeavors – she is God-fearing – “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (V30 – NIV).
Such a woman of noble character is of inestimable value to her family and all those around her – “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels” (V10 – NASB). “Her children arise and bless her. Her husband also praises her: ‘Many daughters have excelled, but you surpass them all’” (V28-29). “Give her the fruit of her hands. Let her deeds be her praise at the gates” (V31).
The rewards of her labors of love will be deeply meaningful and satisfying!
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 Unless otherwise indicated, these verses are from my favorite Bible version: Tree of Life Version, Messianic Jewish Family Bible (Syracuse, NY 2015).