Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Thirty-one: Fields and Vineyards

(This is the 7th in a 10-post series)

"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."
Proverbs 31:16-17  NIV 

After reading several commentaries on Proverbs 31:16-17, I'm relieved to know I don't have to own rural real estate or take up vine dressing to apply this bit of wisdom to my life.  What speaks to me in these verses is the way this virtuous woman approaches her life. Remember we said in the first devotion in this series that the wife described in Proverbs 31 is a composite of godly qualities, not an actual woman. As I studied this passage, these were the things that leapt off the page for me.

She considers a field.  She doesn't act hastily or impulsively, but takes time to weigh her options.  She does her homework so she can make wise, informed decisions. I bet she prays for guidance, too!

...and buys it.  She's able to take action when the opportunity arises, because she has set aside resources for this investment.  She doesn't just dream of one day buying a field (or house or business or college education), she has planned and prepared for this day. She takes confident action when the time is right.

...Out of her earnings, she plants a vineyard.  When her investments yield profits, she doesn't consume them, she 'plants' (invests) them in something that will bear even more fruit.  Our economy is not nearly so agrarian as in ancient times, but I believe the principle in this verse applies to the decisions we make every day in our modern culture.  Perhaps that $50 you saved when you clipped a coupon for your son's new glasses could go into his college fund. Maybe the $200 you saved by growing your own veggies this year will enable you to give that much to church or charity. What if the $1,000 you saved by going camping instead of to Disney this year was invested in your retirement plan? The point is this: she actively applies herself to fruitful investing; not just her resources, but also her time and talents. 

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  The word "vigorous" means full of life and energy, active, strong, healthy and growing. She is not afraid of hard work. She prepares herself for the work she must do.  I believe this applies not just to physical fitness and strength, but to mental, emotional and spiritual well being, too. Do you run or work out? Great! But we don't have to be gym members or marathoners to get strong, and lead healthy lives that prepare us for our real race. 

Join me here at Chick Food tomorrow as we look at verses 18-19.

Prayer for Today: Father, help me to make wise decisions.  Help me to be intentional about using the gifts, talents and resources You have given me in fruitful ways. Help me to always remember that my true strength comes from time spent with You.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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