In the prior verse, the Proverbs 31 individual provided clothing for their family and for their business. In this verse, s/he provides food for his or her family. With the virtuous individual an instrument of God’s provisioning, s/he plays a key role in providing both food and clothing for his or her family to ensure contentment (1 Tim. 6:8).
In the first line of this verse, the Scriptures compare the virtuous individual to merchant ships carrying items from faraway countries. With merchants being traders who buy or sell commodities for profit, the virtuous individual takes some of the wondrous garments or clothes made from wool and flax (Verse13) and trades them for food items from distant lands for family to enjoy. This is in sharp contrast to today, where money is spent grocery shopping in town.
Merchant Ship Qualities
What’s particularly interesting about merchant ships is that they are not the fastest means of transporting goods from one area to another. Yet they are the most cost-effective and efficient means; especially for perishable goods such as food. This is in sharp contrast to today’s world where everyone wants everything NOW! We have instant coffee, drive-thru windows, microwave ovens, and easy meals prepared at the grocery store ready for purchase, reheat, and enjoyment! There’s a price to be paid for this convenience. Higher grocery prices.
While jet airplanes transport foods faster, merchant ships are still the preferred method as they can carry a greater load; use less energy and resources; are more cost-effective; and far more efficient. What’s more, the load that a merchant ship typically carries in one trip takes an airplane multiple trips.
One of the things many of us struggle with on a daily basis is the preparation of nutritious meals for our family. There are many days we can’t seem to get it together. Whether the reason is fatigue, work-related stress, or just plain laziness, we figure, “It won’t hurt just this once to go out and get something to eat,” or “Well, I’ll get just a couple of frozen meals, just in case I get in a pinch.” The trouble is that this not only gets very expensive, but a consistent diet of prepared foods is unhealthy. Many prepared dinners are very high in sodium (salt) and a steady diet of prepared food items causes deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals due to a severe lack of fruits and vegetables. While we often give excuses, there is a solution: planning ahead.
While it has been awhile (my kids are now grown), there was a time when I prepared a healthy menu for my family on a weekly basis and kept staple items in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry so I was always prepared to make something. Every weekend I would take out my favorite cookbooks, along with the family calendar, and plan the menu for the coming week. Depending on what we had planned during the week, I would determine whether I had time to make a full meal (such as meat, potatoes, and vegetable), prepare a quick meal (such as a casserole), or prepare something the night before. What’s more, I noted special dinner nights, featuring the favorite of one of my kids. For example, “Sarah Dinner Night” might be homemade macaroni and cheese with ham while “Michael Dinner Night” might be Teriyaki chicken. In addition, I considered leftover meals for nights when we had a scout meeting or a concert to attend. Once the meals were planned for the week, I would then put together a grocery list of required items and only purchased what was on the list.
Keep in mind this did not mean we never ate out or never ate prepared frozen meals. It just meant we planned for it, didn’t have a steady diet of it, and did not use it as an excuse for not cooking for my family on a regular basis.
While I have been divorced now for a number of years, I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful man. While I do not know what the future holds for us, I want him to know that when we are together, I wish to be like the merchant ships. During the coming year, I want to revitalize what I did for my children when they were growing up. This time for my life partner. I wish to take my time; plan healthy meals; purchase delicious, cost-effective groceries; as well as minimize waste and spoilage. Why do all of this, you ask?
I’ve been given a second chance at love and don’t want my life partner to take a back seat to whatever else I wish to accomplish with my day. I want him to know I am choosing a life that demonstrates to him just how much I love and want what is best for him rather than choosing a life of convenience. What’s more, it’s my way of showing him just how much I honor, appreciate, and value the hard work he does to provide for us.
Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.