In our contemporary world, where heated debates have unfortunately become the norm, if there is one subject that can certainly ignite a fire and stir the controversy pot, it is the question of the role of a woman…both inside and outside of the home. As a Christian, I have enjoyed my fair share of Mother’s Day sermons highlighting the qualities of the Proverbs 31 wife and mother. That introductory phrase, “Who can find a virtuous woman,” infers that she is indeed a rarity, and her resume is nothing short of amazing. It is little wonder that her “candle goeth not out by night.”
This multi-talented, godly, industrious, creative Wonder Woman of sorts wears a wide variety of hats. She confidently fills the role of merchant, chef, real estate agent, gardener, physical fitness enthusiast, and compassionate philanthropist. She is a skilled seamstress, “laying her hand to the spindle,” that complicated, time-consuming, home-weaving contraption of Bible days. My, did this woman ever sleep? Yet in all her busyness, she still prioritizes her faith, for we are told that she is a woman who “feareth the LORD.”
Among the many glowing credentials of this godly woman that I would love to emulate in my life is her ability to look “well to the ways of her household.” Her husband’s heart could trust safely in her…in her tenacity, her resourcefulness, her prudence. I have spent a good part of my life observing my dear husband’s labor and toil, as he provided the economic stability necessary for our home to flourish. I have stood by the door, handing him his lunchbox, day after day, sending him out to weather days of blistering heat or unbearable wind chills for well over forty years, as he faithfully fulfilled the role of provider placed upon him by God. Through God’s grace, the money earned by my husband sustained our little brood. I, in return, need to be a good steward of those resources provided to me.
The word frugal has become somewhat muddled over the generations. Defined as sparing or economical with regard to money or food; simple and plain; costing little, the art of being frugal is somewhat lost in a world where lavish vacations, huge homes, dining out on a regular basis, filled-to-overflowing closets, and tossing away rather than repairing and reusing have become the norm. Although it would be a difficult task to live up to the high bar set by that Proverbs 31 woman, I can strive to be a thrifty, wise steward of my husband’s hard-earned money.
Through the passing of many years of marriage, I have attempted to devise my own humble, money-saving strategies. I may not be able to compete with the Proverbs 31 woman, but I can spare the electric bill some grief by line-drying clothes, using the furnace and air conditioning sparingly, and remembering to turn off the lights when I leave a room. I can reuse the clean water gathered in the dehumidifier over night to fill the washer, buy generic instead of name brands, use up the week’s leftovers by creating an interesting mystery casserole, and shop thrift stores instead of the more expensive retail stores. These may seem like insignificant, almost silly, examples of being frugal, but they are meant to be a testament to the deep love and genuine appreciation that I have for my husband.
I read a thought-provoking opinion on the subject of frugality, defining it as abstaining from using money or goods at our disposal in ways that merely gratify our desires or our hunger for status, glamour, or luxury, to live simply, to understand that God blesses us so that we can accomplish His mission in life, spread His gospel, and use what has been given to us to bless others. When we practice simplicity and frugality in our homes, with a focus on Jesus Christ, perhaps we can take a small step in becoming that Proverbs 31 woman as we look “well to the ways” of OUR household.
Proverbs 31:11-12 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
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