IN A WORLD DEPRIVED OF ROLE MODELS, PROVERBS 31 PAYS TRIBUTE TO A WOMAN WHO IS AN EPITOME OF WOMANHOOD. J. N. MANOKARAN EXPLAINS WHAT MAKES HER MORE DESIRABLE THAN RUBIES
roverbs 31 gives a tribute to a performing working mother, entrepreneur, blessing and inspiration for the whole city. While the leaders of the church debate whether a woman should be confined to home, or work outside the home; this chapter describes a wife of noble character who is worth far more than rubies (Prov. 31:10). She is a dynamic, energetic and inspiring personality. It gives such laudable tribute that it could be listed in a dozen different headings.
A wife who is of noble character is worth far more than rubies (31:10). She is a woman of high moral standing, spiritual understanding, discerning good and evil, thinks about family, future and welfare of all. She is worth more than precious stones. In the contemporary world, where women are shown as commodities, the worth of woman is under estimated.
The wife has self-confidence and her husband has full confidence in her. She is woman of self worth, not a victim of circumstances. In most cultures, women are considered not of worth or trustworthy. Even Christians have this kind of attitude, they generally quote that Eve was the first person to sin so they could not be trusted. But, in this verse, it clearly states that she is trusted by her husband – one hundred percent. In modern world, even among Christian husbands, how many trust their wives one hundred percent? Suspicion and jealousy are characteristics of modern man, not confidence.
They are no burden to the family as some men consider their wives to be. Some husbands tease or mock their wives stating that they are worthless, useless and are like dead weight. A husband who values her wife lacks nothing of value (31:11). The more a man considers his wife an asset, the more value he adds unto himself.
Some men think wives bring misfortune to their families. Many times they are cursed, harassed and verbally abused. But, a wife brings good not harm to the family. It is not just one time event but a lifelong process until the day of her death. She brings him wellness or goodness, not harm, all the days of her life (31:12). Goodness follows her wherever she goes. In modern India, contribution of good is equated with dowry. What a shame when Government of India bans it, Christians cherish it?
The author describes that she has common sense to provide for the family. She is resourceful and is compared with merchant ships, bringing food from afar of (31:14). Considering the best for her family, she knows where to go to get resources to take care of her family. Children are not malnourished or undernourished but nurtured with care and sensitivity.
She not only has common sense, she has commercial or economic sense as well. As a working professional she earns money and invests wisely in a vineyard (31:16). May be a modern woman may invest in banks or insurance or share markets (31:16). She also considers a field and buys it (31:16). Her skill takes her to do garment business also (31:24). That means she is well versed with even real estate business and knows when to buy or when to sell. She self-evaluates her finances, budget, surplus, earnings, investments and makes sure she is doing good business of making profit (31:18). It is amazing to see her making agricultural investments, real estate purchases and doing industrial business of garment marketing. She is not just saving for the sake of saving, but saving and investing to increase the wealth. That means her assets are performing assets, and not nonperforming assets.
CONSUME NOT THE BREAD OF IDLENESS
She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls (31:15). She is not lazy or loves luxury or retreats to comfort zones. Her energy and enthusiasm is amazing. Her hands are skillful, arms are strong and she works from morning till late night (31: 13, 17, 18). She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness (31:27). Not wasting her time, she is hardworking, industrious and perseveres. She has no time for gossip, entertainment and petty issues.
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