“She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” Proverbs 31:24 (NIV)
“She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.” Proverbs 31:24 (NLT)
“She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.” Proverbs 31:24 (Message)
This is one amazingly talented woman, with an entrepreneurial spirit. What strikes me is that this woman is very industrious. She is living out and seeing through her ideas in the here and now. The Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t seem to wait. She seems to recognize opportunities and then takes advantage of them in the appropriate timing. My impression is that she looks around at what she has, at the talents she has been given and then envisions what could be done to pull it all together.
A talent can be defined a coin of monetary value. It could also be a particular skill or talent, a natural gift or endowment. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus shares the Parable of the Talents. Perhaps you have heard this before. A man is getting ready to travel and calls his servants to him. To one servant he gives five talents, to one servant his gives two and to the final servant he gives one talent. Jesus tells us that the talents were received “according to his ability.”
As the parable continues we see the first two servants go out, put their talents to work and have reward to show for it. The third servant took the one talent and buried it in the ground. The servant’s reasoning for doing so what this “I was afraid”. Even that one talent was taken from him.
Proverbs 31:24 illustrates how a Proverbs 31 woman can be faithful with her talents. She takes the talents, resources or skills, that she has been given and faithfully puts them to work. She makes linens and sells them. She provides a service to others by supplying goods to merchants. She is a valuable input to their businesses.
What are your talents? What are your resources? What are your skills? How can you use them to the best of your ability?
What are my talents? That can be such a tough question. It’s easier for me to identify those traits that are not my talents. Singing, not my talent. Oh how I love music and how I love to sing. My sound is well, just goofy. I do not have a clue about pitch or tone. Artistic ability like drawing and painting, no that’s not my talent either. My well meaning designs appear to be abstract to everyone but me. Great comedic timing, no I mess up punch lines more often than I remember them.
Isn’t it easy to see what we don’t have or to compare ourselves to others? I’m so guilty of looking at what others have or what they are doing. Just because it’s easy, doesn’t make it right.
God gave me gifts and talents. He endowed them to me based upon my ability. He wants me to be faithful with them. God is good and perfect and knew what He was doing when He assigned me my gifts. God blessed me with a gift of encouragement. I am not bragging but only sharing from my experience. I can write cards and letters that return the most amazing responses from people. I have poured words into people filling the cup of their heart to overflowing; so full it runs through tears down their cheeks.
God has also blessed me with a listening heart. My ears tend to miss much of what’s going on around me. But my heart, that’s another story. I have felt God whisper so quietly in my heart. I try to do my best to respond to it. When I do, I myself am amazed at how often I hear “WOW! I really needed that right NOW!” I don’t credit myself with some type of miraculous timing. The credit, the awesomeness, the righteousness all belongs to God. My heart was a blessed work of His hands!
What are your precious talents? What areas has God gifted you in? Were you given an extra measure of patience, useful for teaching preschoolers? Where you blessed with mechanical abilities that allows you to see how and why things are supposed to work? Do you have a knack for taking raw ingredients and transforming them into edible masterpieces? Does the sound of your voice comfort the soul of the listener? You have gifts and you have talents, which makes you a priceless treasure!
It’s our duty to discover our talents and develop them. We weren’t born knowing what we were good at. We’ve got to figure it out along the way. We have the opportunity to come to our Maker and ask Him. Sometimes He blesses us with grand revelation. Other times it’s just a tiny nudge to send a simple card. Either way, God wants us to be a part of His epic story. He has a role made specifically for each of us. We’ve got to dive in heart first, God first, and let Him take it from there.
God + me = Proverbs 31 I shall be
Thank You so much for being a Grand Designer! Thank You for all the wondrous details that You carefully tend to. Thank You for all of the talents that You have given to each of us. Thank You for all of the gifts we have opened, those talents we know we have. Thank You for all the gifts yet to be unwrapped, those talents we have yet to discover.
Lord, please help us not to compare our talents to the talents You have given to others. Help us to draw near to You and learn from You. May we have confidence in the value we bring to this time and this place. Guide us forward boldly to all that You have waiting for us in our journey.
May we love You to the best of our abilities. In Jesus name, Amen.