Proverbs 31:18

I am so excited to be writing this morning!  I’ve been so encouraged by this next verse that I am just thrilled to share what God has been showing me.  Before I begin I just want to say thank you.

Thank you so very much for taking this journey with me.  Thank you for helping me to remain accountable to press on and not giving up.  Thank you so much for the gift of your time in reading this.  For those of you who have left such precious comments or have sent me messages, you are a treasure to me in ways that I can not express in words.  I pray that you are experiencing incredibly blessings through joining me.  You are so precious!

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

“She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.”  Proverbs 31:18 (NLT)

“She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.”  Proverbs 31:18 (Message)

I’ve had such an amazing revelation about the lamp that does not go out at night.  Up until the last few days, any time that I read that part of the verse I took it as a directive that I needed to stay up late working into the night.  You should know that I am more of a morning person.

Those closest to me can attest that I have a tendency of dozing off at night once I sit down.  It’s very common to find me asleep on the couch after tucking kids into bed.  Sometimes I lay down with them in their beds to sing a lullaby or to pray over them, only to find I’m being awoken by my husband or children because I drifted off.  So staying up late working doesn’t have pleasant connotations to me.

However, if I am really engaged in something I enjoy, then the hours can pass by so quickly.  If I’m in the middle of a great book, or if I am working on a task that is coming together the way I envisioned it, or if I am writing a letter to a good friend, then those are the nights that my husband (the night owl) is off to bed first.

I’m so excited to share this connection with you.  I’ve never focused on it before.  I continue to be in awe of how amazing God is and how unified the Old Testament and New Testament are.  In Matthew 25:1-13 there is a parable Jesus tells of ten virgins.  Let me set this up for you.  There are 10 virgins who are waiting for the bridegroom to come.  Five are foolish and five are wise.  The five wise have brought extra oil for their lamps.  The five foolish were not really prepared and only had what was in their lamps.

It takes longer than expected for the Bridegroom to arrive.  The ladies fall asleep (I guess I’m not the only one who dozes off).  At midnight there is a cry for the girls to come out to meet the Bridegroom.  The foolish find they are running out of oil and their lamps are about to go out.  They plead with the wise.

Well, it turns out the wise only have enough for their lamps and tell the foolish ones they will have to go buy more.  So the foolish virgins have to run to get oil but since it’s the middle of the night this would take extra time.  I’m not sure where they went to do this, but when they get back the doors to the wedding banquet have been closed.  The whole point of this story is to be prepared.  Most often I’ve heard it talked about in reference to not knowing the time when Jesus will return.

Look at this awesome connection with the lamps.  The message just resonates with me.  I just thank God for showing me.  It’s not telling us that we need to be up working late every night.  The amazing love that God has for us, He know that we need rest.  He wants us to rest.  Even God took a rest on the seventh day.  The parable doesn’t shame or condemn all of the virgins for falling asleep.

What it does say is that the five wise virgins were prepared.  When they needed to get up in the middle of the night, they were ready for it.  They were equipped.  They were organized.  Doesn’t that sound just like the Proverbs 31 woman that we’ve been studying?   It is so encouraging to me to know that God doesn’t expect me to work late every night.  It’s also much easier to lay my head down on my pillow.

Look at the verse in the Message version again, “She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.“The Proverbs 31 woman knows that her work is valuable and it becomes a desire in her heart to continue on.

My days vary and so does my work for the day.  For this season of my life, I am at home with my children.  Meal preparation, laundry, housekeeping, projects around the home and volunteer work in our church, community & schools is what keeps me busy.

Then there is my encouragement work.  I write.  The most important writing I do is cards and letters to individuals.  I write prayers.  I write long emails.  This blog, articles, essays and I’ve started working on the outline for a book.  I call.  I love talking with people or more so listening.  I love to hear what is going on and to offer prayer over the phone.  I meet with people.  I hug, I smile, I listen, I laugh, I cry and pray.  It’s all part of the package.

It is very easy to think that my work is not valuable.  I fall prey to doubt and fear so frequently.  I hear the lies in my own mind that what I do is worthless and so quickly forgotten.  That is when I need renewal of my mind and to be overflowing with God’s truth.

There’s tasks that I do that have a quick payoff.  Washing dishes.  It doesn’t take me too long to do, it’s not hard.  I see the fruit of the effort right away.   The fruit is consumed and forgotten about very quickly too.  Some days it feels like all I have to do is leave the kitchen for a few minutes and I can return to dishes in the sink, crumbs on the counter and wrappers on the table.

Then there’s things like encouraging my children, slowing down to teach them God’s word, reading books with them, helping them learn math and teaching them many lessons for life.  There’s pouring into the life of a friend.  All of which seem to show no immediate payoff, but over the long run will have a much sweeter and richer fruit.  It’s just having the patience to see what God will do with it in the lives of others.

It all has value.  It says in Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NIV), “to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.”  The work of your hands is such a treasure that God calls it a gift.  It is a gift what you do, be it small or large.  If you answer phones and file paperwork, it is a gift.  If you perform surgeries to help heal people, it is a gift.  If you teach or train others, it is a gift.  If you serve or wait upon others, it is a gift.  If you fix, design or build things, it is a gift.  If your focus is on people – building relationships, responding to needs, assisting others, it is a gift.  If you lead, casting vision, planning or organizing, it is a gift.

God tells us in Proverbs 31:18 that if we know our work is a treasure we will be so committed to it and prepared for it, that we will have our lamps on when He calls.  We can see our work as valuable when we do our best to see it from God’s perspective.

God + me = Proverbs 31 shall I be

Dearest God,

Thank you so much for new and exciting revelation.  I am so thankful that Your Word is living.  I am grateful for the way it breathes life and hope into my day.  

Lord I lift up every precious life who reads this.  I pray for their families and friends.  I pray that they would see the value in whatever work You have called them to.  Help them Lord to not become weary, but to find refreshment in You.  May they be in no hurry to quit.  May they press on to the goal, to all the good things You have awaiting them.

Lord, please open the eyes of our hearts, give us a Spirit of revelation and make us wise.  May we know You better and may we know the hope in which You have called us to (Ephesians 1:17-18).  

Loving You heart, soul, body and mind.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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