“She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.” Proverbs 31:14
We've been discussing ways that as Christian women, we can be like this ideal woman in Proverbs, and that we can be like the merchant ships in verse 14. We may have smiled a little at first, to think that we should be like merchant ships, but I think you'll agree with me -- we've seen now that we can!
Today I'd like to touch on another way we can be like these merchant ships. In essence, we are simply taking this verse and trying to find applications that will help us be the best women that we can be -- whether we are married or single, there are things we can glean here to help us be vibrant Christians that draw others to Him.
Let's talk about "spicing things up." Consider what your own life would be like, if you lived in ancient Israel . . . you would not have (gasp) a refrigerator, nor would you have (gack!) a microwave. OK, all joking aside, as a homemaker, you would not have the conveniences you have today, right? So, what consequences would that have?
For one thing, you would only have meat, which was expensive, when there would be enough people around to eat it up quickly. It would spoil, so you either had a feast or celebration, or you tried to preserve it with salt, etc. (Not having that cooler was a bummer.) Your family table would see meals of wheat and barley products, some figs or dates (fresh or dried), olives, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Now, imagine your excitement of having a break from the routine of these meals, because a merchant ship arrived and you could purchase new and unusual spices, or perhaps a different type of dried fruit than you've seen before! Wowser!
What a blessing it would be to have some variety -- to spice it up! "Food from afar" must have been pretty cool, or Lemuel's mom would not have included it in these "how to find the right woman" lessons . . . the lesson here goes beyond the dinner table.
Let's see how providing variety to those we love can be so valuable, even though it may take more effort and energy. How can we do this on a daily basis, beyond the usual looking-through-cookbooks-and-trying-new-recipes drill?
We are honored as Christian women with opportunities in our lives to bring joy and variety into the lives of those we love and care for . . .
A young mother can make jelly sandwiches and provide a teapot of lemonade for her young daughter and a friend, so that they can have a tea party with all of their favorite plush animals. She is providing fun and variety, while making memories for her daughter to emulate when she is a mom.
A wife who knows her husband would love to have a certain boat or car may purchase a tiny souvenir car or boat to surprise her hubby with on his birthday, with a note that tells him of her love, and also speaks of what might be in the future for them. She may not share his enthusiasm for the car or boat, but she is adding joy to his life by supporting and loving him.
A woman whose neighbor is caring for an aging parent might write a note of encouragement and leave it at the door or mailbox with a "coupon" for a teatime break at their convenience. The cup of tea and comfort from a friend can bring a welcome moment of peace, and can bring the opportunity to witness, as well.
Single or married, we can have a joyful effect on someone in our church or community who is sick, by taking a moment to select a colorful card and writing encouraging words and Bible verses inside.
These are just a few ways that we can "bring food from afar" . . .if we are relying on God to be our source of power, then all we must do is open our eyes and our hearts --- He will reveal how we can "spice things up" for those we love and minister to.