5 Financial habits from the Proverbs 31 Woman. Who can ever live up to those standards? Proverbs 31 is too often presented as a check list for women. Believe me or not, the true audience of this 22 line poem is a husband.
Who can find a capable wife? vs. 10
Traditionally, all of Proverbs 31 is recited by the husband over the wife before the Shabbat dinner on the eve of Jewish Sabbath. A husband blessing his wife–before he blesses his children or eats the meal. He remembers:
she is far more precious than jewels and his heart trusts in her; vs. 10-11
He goes on to recount the unseen and seen good deeds and acts of service his wife preforms for the good of himself and the family. Every week she is blessed as the Eshet Chayil- Woman of Valor
Her household work and outside the household work are equally valued by her husband and family. Her financial savvy centers on sustainability for her household. Inventiveness, risks and measured management all play a role in the Proverbs 31 life style.
Financial Habit 1: Planning for the Family Needs
She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household; vs. 15
Rising early, finding time to spend with God first, is a financially savvy move. This ordering of the day brings peace and steadiness to the lives of the others in her household. She sets the tone for the day so each family member can focus on their specific tasks.
In my own life, I find, if I am rushed, everyone in the house is rushed–lunches might not get packed or breakfast eaten. The domino effect leads to dinner not being planned or thawed. This leads to the expense of eating out.
Financial Habit 2: Willing to Work to Support the Family
She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands; vs. 13
She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong; vs. 17
Managing a family takes physical labor–laundry, cooking, cleaning, organizing the household. All of this can be outsourced for a price, often a high price. Housekeeping once a week in my area of Colorado runs $25-35 an hour.
Most families cannot afford to “hire a wife” . According to Salary.com for the same 96 hr work week a women of valor puts into her family, the family would pay $143,000 a year.
Financial Habit 3: Confidence in Her Work
She sees that her trading is profitable; vs. 18
She is not afraid for the household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed; vs. 21
She makes and sells linen garments, she delivers belts to the merchants; vs. 24
Without confidence there is not trial and error. Would the Proverbs 31 women step out to sell her goods or make clothing for her family, if she did not believe in her abilities?
Financially savvy people are confident. Yes they make mistakes. Then they turn those mistake over to God and try again. It takes confidence to try a new idea or job.
Searching for a job, starting a business, managing a home all take one action after another. Take one small step, then the next, then the next. It is action that builds confidence not confidence first.
Remember this poem is a blessing the husband sings over his wife, he builds her up with God’s words.
Financial Habit 4: Investment
She considers a field, then buys it; she plants a vineyard; vs. 16
This woman of valor takes her profits and confidently buys a field. Not content with idle land she then adds a vineyard for more income.
Credit cards may be the death of all of us. Spending money we don’t have for things we don’t need just to create a sense of worth or a feeling of happiness is costing us our joy.
Investments are calculated events that plan on returns. Investing wisely in 401k’s, our health, the care and feeding of our marriages and blessing our children with love, are financial habits worth continuing.
Financial Habit 5: Giving
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy; vs. 20
After investing in her family the Proverbs 31 women extends a hand to those around her. She gives her time and resources to those who are needy.
As Christians we are instructed to provide for the poor. Marie Forleo, highly successful business builder, in her blog titled the Single Most Powerful Action You Can Do to Grow Your Business says this:
Here’s the truth: The most financially and spiritually successful people I know always GIVE first.
Bonus Financial Habit: Unity
Finally, the Proverbs 31 woman displays a clear since of value and purpose. Remember, the audience for this poem is not women but men.
The husband is a servant to his wife and family just as God delights in serving His Creation. The Proverbs 31 poem is about wisdom in action The everyday acts that support the wise, develop a financially savvy family unit.
On the Sabbath, Eshet Chayil (woman of valor) or Gibor Chayil ( man of valor) stand equally before the master of the universe to celebrate His wisdom and financial provisions together in a family unity. Look back over the blog, all 5 financial habits are gender neutral not specific to wife or husband but shared by both.