Archive for September 26th, 2018

Proverbs 31:10-32The Ideal Wife

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Cassatt: Young Woman Sewing in a Garden

Written on March 14 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

In the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible The Ideal Wife becomes The Capable Wife.  I am wondering why the translators have made this subtle change.  Notes will tell us why one word can be taken into different contexts – our hearts will tell us how it ultimately impacts on us.  What one context reveals as ideal or excellent is seen in another as merely capable or sufficient.  No matter the title, this portion of Proverbs hearkens back to the opening chapter about Woman Wisdom, the feminine force that seeks to repair injustice, counsel the lost, and minister to the downtrodden.

The woman we see today – whether she be capable or ideal – symbolizes the work of the Gospel for New Testament people.  She is a good steward in her household, she is creative and enterprising, she is compassionate and empathetic, she is kind, strong, thoughtful, dignified, and she looks to God as the center of all things.

In ancient days a woman’s success would be linked to her husband’s and we see this in the last verses.  Today women in some cultures do not need to be married in order to be respected while marriage is still a requisite in some parts of the world.  I am thinking of the many women who serve as models as this woman does today, and I am wondering what they would think about these verses.

It is likely that as we read we compare ourselves to see how we stack up against this high standard.  We all fall short of this paradigm in one verse or another, and we must not be too harsh with ourselves.  Putting aside any thought of imperfection, let us spend some time reflecting on what this passage means for us as we move through our first week of Lent.

The woman we read about today serves . . . there are countless times in a day when we serve others.  And this is easiest to do when we keep God as the center of our lives.

The woman we read about today is prudent and generous in her dealings . . . each time we interact with others we have the opportunity to treat them with compassion while still shepherding resources.   She tends to the present with God at the center of her life.

The woman we read about today looks forward and plans ahead . . . and we can also look into the future rather than stare back into events which are over and past.  She hopes in the future with God at the center of her life.

The woman we read about today does not fear winter storms . . . we also put our faith into action as we move through the tempests in our lives.  She remains constant in her fidelity to God who is at the center of her life.

The woman we read about today performs her work willingly . . . knowing that God is the best judge of all.  She is courageous and is determined to keep God at the center of her life.

The woman we read about today, this ideal woman, lives her life through and with and in God.  When we work to keep God at the center of our lives, we need not worry about how we measure up to the ideal . . . for with God at the center of all things . . . we become our ideal selves.

A re-post from August 25, 2011.

Images from: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/artwork/paintings-by-mary-cassatt4.htm 

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