"She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard."
It's been awhile since I've written an installment in my Proverbs 31 Reflection series. As I read over verse 16, I think about the many articles I have read, the many books that have cited it. Very often, it is used as a "proof text" to advocate women working in the public sector. Alternately, it is grappled with by those who maintain that a woman's true place is in the home. Frankly, when I take a look at this verse, I see neither of these stances.
What I see when I read these words is confidence. The Proverbs 31 woman trusts her own judgment. She is confident in her ability to make decisions. We can reasonably infer from this that she is knowledgeable, for knowledge is the precursor to good decision making. She is confident enough in her knowledge and in her judgment to spend her earnings on something worthwhile; she is not a hoarder or a miser. From previous verses, we also know that her husband has confidence in her decision making. She does not act alone, but rather with the fear of the Lord and with her husband's blessing.
The Proverbs 31 woman is also visionary. A vineyard does not bare fruit the moment funds exchange hands. She must look ahead and walk boldly toward the future she envisions.
To live with vision takes great confidence, especially in a post-modern, relativistic world. In a society where every way of life is promoted as being equal to any and every other way of life, it can be hard to make decisions about how to live, where to put our treasure, and how to spend our time. All too often, we become complacent, doing what others have done, or rebelling against tradition just because we can. But, to live with purpose and vision takes courage.
Where is your vineyard? Do you have the confidence and the vision to go and buy it?