by Gina L.
from Virtuous Daughters, October 2016~Volume 16, Number 7
"Panning for Gold" Proverbs 31 Study Series Part 7
A church we attended some time ago that was meeting in a rented building became very excited to come across a beautiful piece of land—5 acres—in a very desirable area. The price was just a fraction of the worth of the field and dreams of building a church were bustling throughout the congregation, no one more excited than the dear pastor himself. They went full speed ahead and were soon in a contract that was contingent upon inspection, and good thing. When the engineer got back with the church, they found that the whole plot was a terrible flood plain, and to build anywhere on it at all would cost a fortune in excavating. The congregation was heartbroken and cancelled the contract. They are still meeting in a rented building, but that field could have financially broken that little church. It is good they considered the field before they bought it.
Proverbs 31:16 says that the Virtuous Woman considereth a field and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Over the last few months we have learned much about the Virtuous Woman. She is a trustworthy, willing worker, who always does her husband good and cares greatly about what she feeds her family, even rising early to prepare their food. We have seen much said about her character and working hands, but did you realize that this woman also uses her mind well? She is a thinker.
As the Virtuous Woman considers a field and buys it, she provides evidence of what an adept thinker, evaluator, and woman of action she actually is. She works with her mind as well as her hands. It takes knowledge and wisdom to consider the value of a piece of land and weigh that against the projected return. Keen reasoning, logic, and careful figuring, as well as the ability to take a risk, are present in this industrious woman.
She is not only able to weigh the options either, but also to make a decision to buy the land, and we see in Proverbs 31:16 her intentions as it goes on to say, “with the fruit of her hands, she planteth a vineyard.” Now a picture emerges of a real business entrepreneur taking initiative to procure the best land for her business venture—her vision—her vineyard.
Not a daydreamer, the Virtuous Woman has the funds on hand to plant her vineyard from past labor. Her vision of a vineyard caused her to save money from her labors— the money was from her work—as it states the fruit of her hands. We see clearly that she worked hard and sacrificed, not eating her “fruit” or spending her seed money in frivolous ways or on other tempting options. She forgoes present pleasure for the hope of a future goal…..and she uses her hands and mind to bring the idea to pass.
I am reminded a bit of my eldest daughter here (in fact, many times in this Proverbs 31 study I have seen her). For more than a year, she has been cleaning a large vacation rental home. She does a wonderful job and her boss is very happy to have her and she is thankful for the job, but in reality, she doesn’t love it. She endures it and generally very joyfully as well, and uses some of her earnings to expand another business she has done for years— handmade natural products (lip balm, salve, soaps, bath bombs, etc.). I think the Virtuous Woman is like that. She is willing to do what she may not want to do presently to be able to do what she wants to do in the future.
What if you’re not a farmer, or a gardener, or a real estate dabbler? There is still much to learn from this woman who finds a vision and sees it though, not afraid of the uncertainty of the future. Every endeavor has risks and certainly all ideas don’t end up being financially profitable. The Virtuous Woman doesn’t know what will happen to her vineyard in terms of rainfall, bugs, the possibility of an early freeze, or many other potential pitfalls. She has risks, but is not paralyzed with fear…maybe even realizing that much can be learned from a not-so-successful business. (My same daughter got paid $100 to write an article for a homesteading online magazine about a “failed” chicken business she had when she was little. It had “failed” in the sense of profit, but not in life lessons or skills, as she learned to build a chicken tractor and how to manage a flock to make it turn a profit, as well as countless other things. The one who fails before succeeding cannot only tell you what to do, they can tell you what not to do.)
Not all ideas are agrarian. Not all visions are of this scale. But one thing you will find is a Virtuous Woman is a thinker and a worker. She will have ideas. She will follow some of them through. She will learn from mistakes and build on success. She will work hard physically and mentally, and she will not fritter her fruit in vain or frivolous pursuits.
History has many of these stories. I recently read about a pioneer woman who saved her money in a sock when she left her comfortable home and headed out into the unknown frontier with her husband and children. Her vision was to buy a flock of sheep and nothing else could touch her sock money. After the purchase, most of the flock died the first year, and she actually moved the remaining few sheep into the house at night to keep them warm and safe. In the spring, there were little lambs and there was wool too for the children’s clothes; and in a few years, a big, thriving flock—all from the sock and the vision of the woman. (And most certainly God’s blessing, Who is to be given the glory in all our enterprises, and we thank Him in all things, be it success or failure! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Some visions are small. Some visions are not for financial gain. Some visions save money instead of make it. The greatness is not in the vision itself, but rather in the character of the visionary who exemplifies sacrifice, work, and determination, but who at the same time is always willing to follow God’s plan and lay down her vision for His.
Let us draw application. Do you consider things before you buy them? You certainly consider the price and quality of your groceries or the best product for your homeschool curricula, and you may consider the ingredients in prepackaged foods and those in your beauty products, but do you consider ideas, doctrines, and biblical teaching before you simply “buy” them or accept them as fact? Paul said that the Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they received the Word with all readiness of mind and considered what was preached, searching the Scriptures daily whether it was so. We are told that many false prophets are gone out into the world, that teachers are seducing us and making merchandise of us, and that men with a form of godliness creep into houses and lead captive silly women. We are not to be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, like the magician’s sleight of the hand, deceiving us with their cunning craftiness. We must drop anchor in Scripture and learn to try the spirits, whether they are of God (1 John 4:1). The devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Of course he doesn’t come dressed as a lion or a wolf. No, he is like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, wearing grandma’s clothes (or sheep’s clothes). Some ideas are likewise, sweetly cloaked in Christian language. Learn God’s Word and you won’t be fooled by the counterfeit.
To draw another spiritual application, we sow seeds, we plant, and God gives the increase. But where do we sow? Consider the field and its promise of authenticity before you “buy” it. Christ is the only field to put your hope in. We build on the foundation of Christ, warned to take heed how we build thereon, and we are purchased and redeemed by His precious blood. We can sow to the Spirit and reap life, or we can sow to the flesh and reap corruption.
We are also wise to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit by abiding or dwelling in Jesus Christ and walking in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces His sweet fruit—love, joy, peace and more—in our lives. Just as God ordained in Genesis, a tree’s fruit has a seed in itself after his kind, and in the same manner our spiritual fruit may have seeds—seeds we sow into the lives of others (as the Virtuous Woman sows with hope into the soil of her vineyard) that can go on and produce fruit in their lives through the work of the Holy Spirit.
As we know from John 15, abiding in the vine, Jesus Christ, produces much fruit. After sowing, we rest in the hands of the great Husbandman Who brings the increase Himself and then purges and prunes the branches (Christians) so they produce even more fruit. There are seasons for fruit bearing, and also seasons of pruning and seasons of inclement weather, but in all seasons our Heavenly Father, the Husbandman, is working and producing a beautiful, growing garden in our lives. As we yield to Him, He brings a yield in us.
The Virtuous Woman considers the field before she buys it, and we would do well to follow her example in our literal purchases and in the buying of beliefs. We study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the Word of truth, learning to test ideas with Scripture to see whether they are so—considering the field before buying it—and then being ready to do the work of planting, waiting for God’s yield, for such does the Virtuous Woman.
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