Generations of women have held the Proverbs 31 woman as their role model. Even though she existed thousands of years ago, the proverbs 31 woman and her approach to life and money matters, is more relevant than ever for the 21st Century woman. She forms the perfect picture of a busy woman running her home, rushing to work, running a business, making investment decisions, and volunteering her time for charitable causes, whilst continuing to be the rock of her family; a wonderful wife and mother.
What can we, today’s women learn from this ancient biblical ideal as we pass through our diverse and complex lifestyles, juggling family, home, work, career and business. Whether you are married, single, divorced, widowed, with or without children, young or old, there are many lessons to be learned from the Proverbs 31 woman.
This discussion however, will focus on 8 practical financial lessons and concepts that come to the fore that we can imbibe and include in our lives. Let us examine the characteristics of this remarkable woman and see if we can come any closer to this ideal in our own lives.
1. A business woman : “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” “She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” This woman runs a business from her home and has the business acumen to be a successful trader in the marketplace. An entrepreneur, her effort and industry bring benefit to her family as she is able supplement the family income. She values her customers and is quality conscious and will go the extra mile to ensure that she has good quality products.
2. She is frugal : “She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” She is prudent about her shopping and will go some distance to shop around for quality items at bargain prices to ensure that she gets good value for her money. We too can be frugal in our shopping, by avoiding impulsive buying and shopping with a list.
3. She invests wisely: “She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard”. Apart from working to earn a living, she invests carefully. She not only plans for the short term but understands and seeks the benefits of long term investments and income and contributes to the financial well-being of her household. She is reliable and dependable and watches over the affairs of her family. Her husband has full confidence in her and trusts her to make the right day to day decisions and manage the family assets efficiently.
4. She plans ahead and is organized : “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” She plans ahead for a rainy day and is an organized and energetic woman who manages her time efficiently and can accomplish more by starting her day early and carries out her responsibilities with diligence and good cheer.
5. She is talented and industrious: “She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle” She uses her creative talents to earn additional income to support her family. What gift have you been blessed with? Do you use it? With a little imagination and determination you can you can use your talent to earn some money. Let us consider our own God given talents and see what benefit it can bring to us, our families or to our community. You may be a great cook, have a special voice, or be a gifted tailor or carpenter. How can you develop these skills through diligent application to the point where they can increase your income, change your life or indeed someone else’s.
6. She is generous: “She extends her hand to the poor, and stretches out her hands to the needy.” She is generous in her giving; not only did she care for her family, and her domestic staff, but she also gave back to society and had the sensitivity and compassion to care for the poor and needy.
7. She keeps well and strong: “She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong”. We get the impression of a woman who kept herself fit and well, through exercise and an appropriate diet going vigorously about her duties as so many people depended on her.
8. She is God-fearing: The Proverbs 31 woman realizes and acknowledges that her skills, talents and industry are all by God’s grace. As she places her full trust in Him he enables her and gives her the wisdom and ability to create wealth and accomplish all that her heart desires and more.
I know it sounds daunting but it is far too easy to place her up on a pedestal as if to try to emulate this ideal is an unattainable goal. The Proverbs 31 role-model highlights areas that if we were to focus on, could change our lives. You are probably practicing some of them already and just need some encouragement in others. Proverbs 31 forms a veritable guide to all women of what we can aspire to be. Working outside the home is a reality for most women and balancing a career and family can be very stressful. With determination and focus, the 21st Century woman is capable of having a successful work-life balance.