by Gina L.
from Virtuous Daughters, August 2016~Volume 16, Number 5
"Panning for Gold" Proverbs 31 Study Series Part 5
Proverbs 31:14 says the Virtuous Woman is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. We must not be so quick to spiritualize everything in Scripture (though I think that we can safely draw some applications in time), but first let us actually consider what is being stated here by God in His Word.
The Virtuous Woman brings her food from far away or a distant place, just like the ships of old, laden with fine treasure, food, and spices carrying home the marvelous wonders of other lands. What is the opposite of this? Perhaps it is grabbing the closest, quickest, easiest “food” available. We have a name for this this, as it readily abounds in our fast-paced society—convenience food. These convenience foods are so ubiquitous that they probably stretch in some way into all of our lives at times, but is this what we are characterized by? The Virtuous Woman wasn’t. God is not making a new law here, but making an important point—the Virtuous Woman goes to great lengths to procure good quality food for her family. She considers their diet and certainly also the budget and takes the time, effort, and planning to secure this food no matter how far it comes from.
Notice it is not the difficulty or elaborate preparation of the food that is praised here. It is the actual acquiring of the food that is significant and the length gone to get it, which shows the forethought and care of one who deems her family’s health a worthy matter of serious consideration. It implies the food is good quality too.
We all know that feeding children poor quality convenience food shorn of all enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients on a regular basis will never produce vibrant, healthy, robust, hardy adults. It is good to be continually growing in this area and the time before marriage a young woman has is an excellent time for research and learning and experimenting in the area of food with the double blessing of being a servant of all (who is greatest among us) as you whip up some delicious, nutritious meals.
On a practical note: Have you ever tried making kefir? It’s so simple but has so many health properties, bursting with probiotics to heal you from the inside out so to speak, and kefir smoothies are so delicious and slimming. What about whole grain bread? Making yogurt is fun and healthy. Kombucha? Homemade whole wheat sourdough bread is much easier on digestion, pre-digesting starches, breaking down gluten and dissolving the phytates making minerals are more absorbable. Brown or white rice…do you know the difference and why it matters? (My husband wisely reminded me that many of these foods originate from distant countries—from afar.)
There is much to learn. Are you using this window of time now that God has blessed you with in a wise manner, learning how to economically and skillfully bring in good food from afar so that you are prepared when new seasons arrive? The ant is wise and prepares ahead of time. While mental preparation and spiritual growth are imperative, practical skills are praised by God here so don’t neglect something God deems important enough to put in His Word. Learn how to feed God’s people good food, and then, whether it is your siblings, husband, a weary sojourner, or the pastor, you will know in all seasons how to nourish and refresh the hungry.
Knowing the natural realm often mirrors things in the spiritual realm, we can now draw an application. A woman indeed brings in food to nourish her family’s bodies and is wise to go to great lengths to procure what will cause them to flourish. How about the diet of their minds and spirits? The mother will often provide books and learning and enrichment materials and bring these things into the home. A recent article in Virtuous Daughters rightly noted how difficult it is to find good books. It is not simply a matter of going to the library and grabbing a spine (though with careful consideration there are often some good treasures to be found there). Rather it takes diligence and research, and might I add prayer and work, to bring in wholesome, inspiring food for the mind from afar, but it too is an important responsibility not to be neglected. Learn now how to find these jewels.
After a time in my own family, I realized that I had one area in this vein that I failed in—music. It was not as you may think, by bringing in poor quality or bad music that I failed, but rather by not seeking out the good and lovely and thereby leaving a sort of void. Oh, I did make hundreds of Scripture songs and played them almost incessantly in the background as my children grew—which has produced terrific results, but I was so afraid almost of modern Christian music (having seen the damage that worldly music can inflict) that I sort of shunned it and replaced it with……nothing. That was not wise. I still have not mastered this area, but together and individually we are learning to evaluate music and seek what is lovely and glorifying to God. You would do well to be purposeful and intentional in all the diets for your mind (and spirit) now, learning to embrace and recognize what is good and acceptable and glorifying to God.
Your spiritual discipline and relationship with God and practice of prayer is vital as well, to feed your own spiritual hunger and growth and to feed those God puts in your path.
As you nourish the body, mind, and spirit with good things in yourself and your family, you ward off hunger for the bad. Never leave a vacuum. We must be willing to go to great lengths in our research and learning and practice to feed our family real food—nourishing their growing bodies, souls, minds, and spirits, for such does the Virtuous Woman.
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