This is a long one, but worth it I think. If you’re needing some encouragement, please read on!
I took a tiny break from my study in Proverbs 31 and not on purpose at all. I seriously got caught up on my work and realized that I hadn’t blogged in days. Totally not like me. I heart blogging and hate when theres gaps of time when I can’t get to it. But sometimes, you have to just let go of the things that you can’t get to. There were certain days that I literally couldn’t do one more thing. Even blogging. So I took a breath and just let it go. But now I’m starting to feel caught back up and I’m diving in again.
Oddly enough, this weeks verses that I’m studying are about WORK. They are:
‘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
This woman WORKS. And she works HARD. I mean, aren’t you kind of tired FOR her already? I think it’s interesting that these two verses are in here. And it makes me wonder what we can take away from it and how we can apply it to our own lives and families.
First, she considers a field and buys it. Whether this woman is wanting to buy a field to plant a garden to help feed her family or to actually plant a vineyard to profit from it FOR her family, the keys here that jump off the page at me are that she considers it. And she buys it.
DUH Jess. The Bible clearly says that.
Well, I think it’s important and not something that we should just breeze past. And because I actually have A LOT to say on these two verses, I’ll cut to the chase on this first half. She’s considering the field BEFORE she buys it because that’s what’s wise to do. She’s probably praying about it, thinking about it, and getting counsel on it. CONSIDERING it. Weighing all the options. She’s not just jumping in head first without knowing what she’s getting into. She’s considering ALL of the options and what these decisions will mean for her family, seeing as that this is most likely some sort of business opportunity for her. It’s so important to wait on things and on decisions. And to honestly pray about them. And not just go on a feeling we have inside ourselves. CONSIDER it. All of it.
Next it says she BUYS it. It doesn’t say she borrows the money to buy it. She doesn’t finance it from the bank. She doesn’t ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’. She just buys it. It means she’s saved up enough money for it and she pays for it in cash. Now, I’m not passing any judgement on anyone who might be in a world of debt. Or using credit cards. Or borrowing money to make ends meet. We have quite a bit of debt ourselves that we are STILL trying to get rid of. I SO get it. We’ve made some really crappy mistakes financially in the past. But Jason and I together have clearly learned the lesson. We’ve learned what the Bible says about debt and about borrowing money. And it’s something we’re working hard to put behind us. And the good news is that we’re getting there. And it’s because of verses like this one, which don’t tiptoe around the issue of debt. She BUYS it. It’s hers, completely paid in full. Zero debt. No financial burden of debt. It’s pretty clear, if you ask me.
It THEN says ‘out of her EARNINGS she plants a vineyard’. Again, she’s not borrowing money. She’s working hard and earning it to be able to afford to do something she’s always wanted or loved or maybe NEEDS to do. Regardless of what she’s trying to do with her money, she’s EARNING it. She’s saving her pennies, being a good steward with what she’s being given, praying and considering her options and then spending her money wisely.
Then she plants a vineyard.
This might seem like a really insignificant detail. But I TOTALLY disagree. Have you ever planted a vineyard? Or known anyone who’s planted a vineyard? ME NEITHER. So I don’t know a lot about vineyard planting and about growing grapes and about turning it into wine. I’m not even going to pretend that I do. BUT, what I DO know is that planting and caring for a vineyard is a LOT of work. Or what I can imagine to be a lot of work. A lot of laboring work that’s exhausting, time consuming and not rewarding in the beginning at all. It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of WORK.
Don’t you just want to hug this woman?
There’s seriously something to be learned here. She is a super hard worker. She’s not looking for the ‘get rich quick’ gimmicks. She’s not frustrated that the fruit of her labor isn’t exploding immediately. She is being faithful with where she’s at right now, diving into her work every day with very little reward. I DO know that growing a vineyard can take YEARS. Years of waiting and working and being faithful before you see any fruit of your labor. And I’m amazed at this woman even more. She is faithful in her work, every single day. It’s not always easy. It’s not hardly rewarding. But she KNOWS that that’s not what this life is about. And she works hard anyways doing what she’s called to do. Faithful that her work will pay off and that God will bless her greatly.
Next it says that she sets about her work vigorously and that her arms are strong for her tasks. I looked up the word vigorously in the dictionary and it means strong, active, forceful and even robust. This woman is not lazy by any stretch of the imagination. She is energetic in her tasks. Can you honestly say that YOU are working energetically in the work YOU’VE been called to do right now? Or are you doing just enough to skate by because frankly, you’re exhausted? I know that it’s hard. Trust me. There are plenty of days that I just want to lie down, have a good cry and not face half of the things I need to do that day. And I honestly love my work! I KNOW how overwhelming it is to be a mom and to consider all that you’re doing as your WORK. It’s a huge load to bear. And we’re all doing it every day!
But what if we changed our mindset just a smidge? What if we looked at our WORK as our vineyards. Something that needs to be slowly nurtured and cared for EVERY day. Something that needs a lot of time put into it and that doesn’t come with a basket full of rewards right away. We should be working faithfully every day, regardless the reward or lack thereof. I know even in the area of motherhood, the rewards are far and few between. But shouldn’t I be treating THAT alone as a vineyard?? Carefully and intentionally and FAITHFULLY pouring my time and energy into them is definitely something that won’t be abounding in rewards right away. But what you sow you will reap. And the rewards in the area of mothering will come, if not for a long time. When the days are long and hard, I’m going to start thinking about my work as my vineyard.
The end of the passage says that her arms are strong for her tasks. And they are strong because she works hard. She physically works all day long, and she has for years. Her body CAN withstand all that the day holds. It doesn’t say she’s weary. Her arms are ready to pick up children all day long. They are ready to lug groceries into the house from the car. And to carry loads and loads and loads of laundry upstairs. She’s strong. And ready to take on the day. And prepared to handle whatever might be thrown at her. Whatever her tasks may be. And they all look different for all of us. That’s the beauty of it.
I know this post has been kind of long. But I hope it’s encouraged you. Your life today might seem tough. It might seem like you’re working SO HARD and there’s no end in sight. Or like you’re not getting anywhere and there’s nothing great about what you’re doing. And I would strongly disagree. I encourage you to view your tasks and your work as your vineyard. Work that will NOT go in vain and that will one day we blooming with rewards that have been cultivated by YOU for a long time. The fruits of your labor will not go unnoticed by our God who’s entrusted you with so much. Whether that be with your children or your day job or both. He sees us in the trenches every single day. Stay faithful to what he’s given you. Press on and know that someday all the work you’re doing now will be SO worth it. You ARE strong. You ARE capable. And you can do this. I know you feel tired and weary because I feel it too. All the time. But refocusing your mind on what your work really means in the kingdom of God will make all the difference in your life.
Think of all of it as your vineyards. And vineyards certainly don’t appear overnight. But rather, they take years of faithful, vigorous, work. But it’s SO worth it in the end.