July 2, 2004
Encouragement for Today
 
Her Trading is Profitable
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, editor@proverbs31.org
 
Key Verse:

"She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."  Proverbs 31:18 (NIV)

Devotion:

The woman described in Proverbs 31 as the "ideal" wife was a savvy businesswoman.  She sold her handwork, invested the money in a vineyard, had strong arms and worked until late at night.

While on the surface she may come across as a Martha Stewart B.C., there's more to this woman than you might imagine.

Proverbs 31 isn't telling all women to start a home-based business, invest in the stock market or get four only hours of sleep a night.   Instead, it shines light on a biblical principle we can apply to our lives:  be a wise manager of what you've got. 

This may sound obvious, but I'm surprised at how many women waste opportunities to make a "profit" with their efforts.   This is evidenced by women living such busy lives that they eat out more than they should, buy replacement items instead of repairing, and miss opportunities to save money.   

This past weekend I donated some items to my church's clothing bank and asked for a tax receipt.  The gentleman in charge asked for the total of my items.  I had itemized the items and came up with a donation amount based on yard sale prices - but it was at home.  I explained that I'd donated many times before but no one ever asked for my total.  I also suggested, trying to be helpful, that perhaps he should send a note to his volunteers letting them know of the rules. (Wouldn't you want to know that if you were managing volunteers?)

He dismissed my suggestion with a shrug and said, "Hardly anyone ever asks for a receipt."

"Hardly anyone?" I questioned silently.  Why not?  Why would anyone miss an ethical and legal opportunity to take a tax deduction?  Of course, there are many who don't itemize, but what about the rest of them? 

Biblical stewardship takes more shapes than faithful financial giving to your local church.  We are called to a higher standard of honoring the time and money God has graciously given us.   As Christians, we live with the understanding that God owns everything - every dollar and every minute.  He trusts us to manage it responsibly.

I know that sometimes our time is more valuable than money, and even the Proverbs 31 woman hired help.  But the biblical concept of financial stewardship stands the test of time.  

It's always good to ask ourselves:  "Are there ways I can make my "trading" more "profitable?" After all, our Manager is watching.


My prayer for today

Heavenly Father, thank you for trusting me to manage your gifts of time and money.  I ask your help to make wise decisions and make changes in my life that bring honor to you.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


Application Steps:  

Acknowledge that all of the time and money you have are gifts from a loving God.  Identify areas of your life where you need to improve your management of time or money.  Make a commitment to be a better manager of these areas - one step at a time.


Reflection points:

Do you struggle more with time or financial management?

What are some areas where you spend more money than you should?

What is one specific area you could work on this week to be a better steward of the money you have?

Why would God want us to manage our money wisely?

What are some long-term goals you could set increase your financial health?


Power Verses:

Luke 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."  (NIV)

Luke 16:11 "So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"  (NIV)

Deuteronomy 8:18  "But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as {it is} this day.  (NAS)

Psalm 112:3 "Wealth and riches are in His house, and His righteousness endures forever."  (NAS)
 
Proverbs 3:7 "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine."  (NAS)


Additional Resources:

P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html
 
A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/secretbalanced.html