Monday, June 14, 2010


When you go to church, do you sit and listen to the sermon? I have to admit- I don't always. I believe that the time during which the message is being given is a special time for each person in attendance. I believe that God might have a special message in that sermon for someone. I believe that different people get different things from that sermon. And I believe that sometimes God leads us to a different place during the sermon. During the sermon yesterday, I felt called to pick up a Bible from the pew and look up some of the Scripture being quoted in the message. But once I had the Bible in my hand, I felt a need to look elsewhere. I do that a lot- just flip through the Bible and stop where I feel a need to stop and start reading. Yesterday, I stopped at Proverbs. And several verses called to me enough that I wanted to share them here. Most of the Proverbs were written by King Solomon. The book of Proverbs is a collection of bits of wisdom. It's a book I enjoy turning to regularly. Proverbs 17:17 (I'm using The Message translation because I like this one best; translation is an interesting thing because you could really read this one the opposite way): Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. Funny aside- some of the other translations really make it sound like we should be true to our friends because families bring adversity. Which is often so very true but certainly not the message you send out to families! Proverbs 19:18 (this one's on parenting and I think it's an important bit of wisdom to cling to in this parenting process): Chasten thy son, seeing there is hope; and set not thy heart on his destruction. Now some read this as a rule about discipline and the importance of punishment. I read the "hope" part more and read it to mean that I don't need to tear my children down in order to discipline them. Proverbs 21:13 (This is another one that could easily drive my personal life philosophy): If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. To me, this isn't saying that you have to help others in order to get for yourself. To me, it's bigger than that. If you aren't hearing the cries of the poor, the hungry, the sick... you are unaware and uninformed and uneducated and when you end up in those circumstances, you will have no one to turn to for help. Proverbs 21:21 (Another one that really spoke to me and is a good description of what I know to be my purpose): He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. I don't believe it means prosperity as in wealth. To me, prosperity found through righteousness and love is about spiritual wealth and fulfillment. And then I came to the end of Proverbs and my skimming became serious reading as I read the last part of Proverbs 31.
The Wife of Noble Character 10-31 A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long. She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden. First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She's quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks. Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: "Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!" Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!
Here is what I like about it... the verses talk about all the ways a woman serves her family, cares for her husband and children and home... and at the end, the most important part, is that her husband and children respect and bless and praise her. The hard work that a woman does in her family is not hers to do just because she's a woman. You aren't supposed to care for your family and prepare meals and clothing because that's simply your duty. As a woman, I do those things because I love my family and that is my special way of caring for them. In return- and yes, there should be a return- there is respect and blessings. Times have changed over and over again and there are so many things that can be discussed about the Bible and where it came from and who wrote it and relevant it may or may not be. But here's where my heart was on Sunday morning as I sat and listened to the sermon and found wisdom in the pages of the Bible... I work hard for my family. And I know that my husband loves me and works hard and respects me. Just as talked about in that Proverb, we each do our hard work and we also support the other in the work we do. From that, we build respect and blessings and praise- all boiling down to love. I think that's pretty cool. Amen. Photobucket


Kari said...

Thank you, Liz. I needed that today! ~Kari

mimbles said...

Going off on a complete tangent, the very earliest examples of anything even vaguely resembling knitting date to around 300BCE-300CE in Peru, at least 600 years and half a globe away from the reign of King Solomon. Actual knitting with 2 needles dates from the 14th century. I'd love to know what other translations of the same passage refer to rather than knitting.

noexcuses said...

That was wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

I was always anxious taking the kids because they needed so much to keep them occuppied. I felt like I never even heard the sermon. Then, I came to believe that even if I only heard a few minutes, those were the minutes that God meant for me to hear.

C. Beth said...

Great stuff, Liz! Thank you for sharing! The Bible can be so practical sometimes.

mimbles' question has got me wondering the same thing. I like Bible Gateway for comparing different translations.

Katina said...

Ohh how wonderful! Isn't it funny, I used Proverbs 31 today also? Many blessings!

mimbles said...

@C. Beth That's a pretty cool site! I've always been fascinated by translation questions, the different versions say so much about the time they were written in.