The Proverbs 31 Project: Her husband has full confidence in her…

Proverbs 31 Project

Our first guest post comes from Priest’s Wife. She is an American married to a man from the old country who was ordained a Byzantine Catholic priest. They homeschool their 4 kids, & She teaches college English part-time.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. (NIV)

The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. (D-R)

Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. (The Message)

In Proverbs 31, when the writer asks “Who can find a virtuous woman- her price is beyond rubies”- the first attribute of this virtuous woman is in verse 11. She is trustworthy. There is no reason for her husband to doubt her virtue and trustworthiness in anything. This trustworthiness is the beginning of the extraordinary ‘Proverbs 31’ woman, a woman we believers strive to be while we wonder if she ever truly existed.

St John Chrysostom (347-407 AD) preached and wrote on the sacrament of marriage and especially wished to inspire his parishioners to retain a Christian dignity within marriage even while the flashy pagan customs still prevailed. He wanted the married couple to trust that the Lord had brought them together. The couple doesn’t need to marry for money or fame; they should be married to live a life of virtue together. A woman who could be trusted with the household, the servants, the children and the heart of her husband would be someone worth far more than rubies in St John’s eyes. He would preach a lot about the peace that exists in a good marriage, and the trustworthiness of the man and wife being paramount. If you can cause to trust your wife, there is no ‘drama,’ so there is peace.

“Scripture does not say, ??They shall be one flesh.?? But they shall be joined together ??into one flesh,?? namely the child. But suppose there is no child; do they then remain two and not one? No: their intercourse effects the joining of their bodies, and they are made one, just as when perfume is mixed with ointment. Why are you blushing? Leave that to the heretics and pagans, with their impure and immodest customs. For this reason I want marriage to be thoroughly purified, to bring it back again to its proper nobility. You should not be ashamed of these things. If you are ashamed, then you condemn God who made marriage. So I shall tell you how marriage is a mystery of the Church!”

St John Chrysostom, in his sermons on love and marriage, can seem a bit old-fashioned. He is a celibate bishop from over 1,500 years ago. He certainly insisted on traditional roles with the man working outside the home with the woman taking the lead in domestic concerns. But in his earnestness, it is clear that the saint knows that a trustworthy wife (and a trustworthy husband as well. A husband is not trusting of his virtuous wife if he himself is doing untrustworthy things) is the basis for all the good things that come from a stable marriage.

“The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together. Men will take up arms and even sacrifice their lives for the sake of this love. St. Paul would not speak so earnestly about this subject without serious reason; why else would he say, ??Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord??? Because when harmony prevails, the children are raised well, the household is kept in order, and neighbors, friends, and relatives praise the result. Great benefits, both of families and states, are thus produced. When it is otherwise, however, everything is thrown into confusion and turned upside-down.” ??Homily on Ephesians 5:22-23

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.
– George Macdonald

The Proverbs 31 Project: A wife of noble character who can find…

Proverbs 31 Project

I’m posting a bit late today due to sleeping in this morning and having errands this afternoon.

In 2000, some missionaries from our church came home on furlough from Uganda and spoke at my college church one Sunday in an effort to continue receiving funding from the church for their efforts. As part of their presentation on their work, they did a quiz on Uganda. It dealt with where Uganda was located, how many languages and cultures were represented, etc. One question was on what kind of women Ugandan women love. Quoting the missionary, “Ugandan men like big beefy women. A tall and heavy woman would be worth ten cows. The two ladies on your worship team (myself and another woman who were quite petite and skinny) would not be worth three chickens!” Everyone dissolved into laughter and it was a few months before members of my college group let me live that one down!

While it didn’t occur to me to use “Worth More Than Three Chickens” as a blog title or domain name when I started blogging, it does fit with the first verse (verse 10) in the Epilogue in Proverbs 31. Depending on the translation, the woman described is valiant/virtuous/of noble character/capable/valorous and her value/price is far above rubies/jewels/pearls/diamonds. These items belong in the dowry of a princess because that kind of wealth is far above what any peasant would know. The wife was frequently the manager of the household as she bore and raised the children, instructed any servants (again, only in the houses of the wealthy), cooked the food, made all clothing and linens, and sometimes took goods to the market to sell. Having a wife who was capable in these areas was indispensable for a man because they could then focus on their trade, knowing that all was taken care of at home.

These days, I too am manager of the house. I cook the food, clean (badly), handle the finances, take care of Daniel, fight with insurance/Medi-Cal/SSA, and generally try to keep the household going. Were I not capable of doing all of these things, Jon would have a harder time being free to pastor his church. Because I can handle calling UC Davis on Monday to let them know that Medi-Cal is messing up with the billing on Daniel’s hospital stay from a few weeks ago (for example), Jon can meet with his Monday morning coffee person, go through music with one of our pianists, and plan out the liturgies for Lent.

My worth is also not dependent on what I can do for Jon or for Daniel. My worth comes from being a child of the living God who chose to send His Son to give his life for me. That alone is far beyond the worth of jewels or pearls.

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won [delivered] me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be [wholly] His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.
— Luther’s Small Catechism

The Proverbs 31 Project

Proverbs 31 Project

It was Rachel’s fault.

I had read her second book twice through at Christmas (as well as her first one) and my brain was pondering what Proverbs 31 looked like in our world today. Consulting a few different translations, I came up with “woman of valor” and “valiant woman”. Rachel did an excellent job of taking it literally in A Year of Biblical Womanhood but I had a weird thought one night about it…

We’ve all read Proverbs 31 and heard it applied to us. What does it mean for us in our daily lives? What is it in these verses that makes us valiant women?

I decided to branch out on this and asked my Cathsorority chicas and a few other female friends if they’d be interested in exploring this with me so I have some guest posters for the next few weeks. I asked my friend Rebecca if she could make me a graphic for a guest posting series and above is what she created.

I’ve heard from many women that this particular passage makes them feel unworthy and I think we need to change that.

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Rebecca sent me the credits for her image. They are…

-Ruby Image courtesy of Boykung / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
-Celtic Cross: Wikimedia Commons
-Candle Picture: Stockvault