Living frugally may seem silly and old-fashioned to a few generations that have grown up with luxuries and affluence, but frugality is far from it. Our Founding Fathers feared that too much luxury woud make a nation weak. If we look back to the Romans and the Greeks we can see that too much play time, or luxury time on their hands was part of their downfall. So let's continue with...Frugality in light of Proverbs 31 Part Two...
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. Proverbs 31:18
She understands that her labors are not in vain, they are good and done with a pleasant heart.
Whether they be making the bread, sewing, or painting, or delivering a chocolate cake to those that God insists she deliver it to. She realizes that there is no good thing within her, but in Christ she has much to offer. Her candle goeth not out by night...pertains to hospitality. Hospitality is very important in the east. With a candle burning in the window at night, travelers would now that hospitality would be extended to them within the household.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. Proverbs 31:19
Have you ever seen a spindle at a fair? When I was young, mom and dad sold our home to a woman who raised sheep for their wool. My sisters and I and mom would go back to the house to visit her and watch her spin the wool into yarn and make the most beautiful sweaters!
Today, I look for good deals on yarn, and use my tool of choice...the crochet hook and the embroidery needle.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20
Here is one of the key motives to our frugality, to share with those in need. We are not to be frugal to the point of being cheap, or to get rich monetarily, but to extended what is in our power to those that are in need of help. We give our help with cheerfulness, and love from the bounty our Father has blessed us with.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Proverbs 31:21
The family has plenty to keep them warm in the winter, there is no need to fear the cold when one prepares in advance. As Jesus washes us in His blood we are safe in Him no matter the storms that may come our way.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Proverbs 31:22 She clothes herself in fine linen in beautiful purple. The color signifies royalty. As daughters of the King we are royalty. A royal priesthood that delivers mercy to all around us. As we extend mercy to others, clothed in the righteousness of Christ,we are a beautiful sight to our Lord Jesus.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.Proverbs 31:23
As Barnes puts it...
The industry of the wife leaves the husband free to take his place among the elders that sit in councils.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Proverbs 31:24
Not only does she making clothing for herself and her family but she finds time to make more to sell among the merchants. Today we have front porch sales and Ebay and Etsy to share our homemade goods, as well as craft fairs. We still remain in our heavenly role as wives and moms and homemakers, but have outlets to share the items we make. If we don't sell them, we can still help keep a frugal budget by making gifts for friends and relavites for birthdays and special occasions.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
No need to fear God is here! When we walk in His ways we can rejoice knowing that we are being obedient to our calling as wives and homemakers and honoring our God, which brings us strength to look at the future without fear no matter what the economy looks like, because we have a future and a hope in Jesus far beyond this life.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26
Frugality at it's best...even in our conversation. Notice she "opens" her mouth...that means it does remain closed at times. And when it does open it is with wisdom...God's wisdom. That may not seem like a good thing to some these days and may be cast aside as judgemental or unloving, but the wisdom as well as the kindness that is mentioned is implied toward God...It is important to speak with an understanding of God's word.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27
The wife oversees the daily running of the household with her husbands leading in mind.
If he likes dinner on the table when he walks in the door from work than do your best to get that frugal dinner on the table. Begin early in the day, sometimes even the day before to defrost meat that was purchased on sale. It helps keep the price down. Plan on making the dessert from items in the pantry rather than box mixes. It also helps keep gas prices down, when you don't have to run to the store everyday for something you forgot. Plan the trips to the grocery store, and errands arround that trip. Get up early to get that crock pot going, and the diswasher running.
If you are homeschooling, plan lessons in advance. Keep the phone calls down to a minimum as to not interrupt school time. With many children having a daily schedule that reflects the wishes of your husband is helpful. Keep baskets of craft items around the home to occupy your hands in a moment of free time. Most of all put aside the beginning of the day for your Bible and prayer reading and communion with the Lord. Bathe your day in prayer, and let God guide your steps.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Proverbs 31:28
As a woman walks in the ways of the Lord, those who BEST know her will call her blessed and praise her for her good works which glorifies her Lord.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.Proverbs 31:29
These are the words of the Husband that has got himself a good thing....a virtous wife...a woman of strong character, filled with goodness, one who is steadfast. Other women may have done "good works" or had a form of godliness, but you my Beloved excel them all! God looks at our hearts and He judges the thoughts and intents thereof. Why do you want to be frugal?
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30 As Matthew Henry writes...Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts forever.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:31
According to Aben Ezra, these are the words of her husband to her children; exhorting them to give her the praise and glory that is due unto her. Using our hands, and hearts to be frugal, to extend mercy and help to the needy in heart or matter, our works glorify our Father in Heaven.
Our lives are pleasing to Him in this manner and our good fruit a lovely fragrance to Him.
God's word is a high standard to uphold. None of us can do it. We all sin. That is why we need a Savior...Jesus. However, if we belong to Him, that standard is the mark we are to live for. Living for that standard is not old fashioned. God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow, and His word will never change as many are trying to do. Read it for yourself and see what God shows you.