By Ruth A. Douthitt
The woman in Proverbs 31 is such an example of how a wife and mother should be, that many women feel threatened by her as if she accomplished all of these tasks in a single day, week, month, or even a year.
The chapter provides an overview of what a virtuous wife did throughout her married life. All she had accomplished took time.
But as a Christian writer, mom, and wife, her story resonates with me. One verse, in particular, shook me:
“She perceives that her merchandise is good…” Prov 31:18
I realized what patience, wisdom, and discernment it takes to perceive that our merchandise is good (or profitable) for others.
I don’t know about you, but I rush through life without taking time to appreciate the process and lessons that come with the process. Writing a book isn’t easy. It is tedious for me. I am blessed to have completed eight books with the help of awesome editors and beta readers. When I hold the finished book in my hands, I could tell you I had perceived that it was good.
But did I?
How many of us work hard to ensure our story is a quality story with an interesting plot arc, well-rounded characters, and a satisfying conclusion? We long for good reviews. Those reviews are the “pats-on-the-back” we treasure. They mean our merchandise was perceived to be of good quality and enjoyed.
Is that enough? Is that our final goal, to sell books and earn rave reviews? Perhaps to the world, that would be enough. But we are not of this world.
For the Christian writer, there should be more, right? Shouldn’t we want the Lord God to be pleased with our merchandise? Isn’t there other “merchandise” we put before God? What about our service before Him? What about our work as parents and spouses? What about our ministries? What about our children?
Do we stop to perceive that all we do is good or “profitable” to God?
To perceive is to become aware or conscious of (something); to realize or understand it. The Virtuous Woman took the time to do this.
As writers and as Christians, we need to make the time to ensure our “merchandise” is truly pleasing to God. His blessing is the only one that matters.
Our books– Do they offer hope whether they are Christian or General Market books?
Our ministries– Are we intentional? Do we devote time and energy to the ministries God has given us?
Our households– Are our homes peaceful, filled with the Holy Spirit so that all who enter feel that peace?
Our marriages- Are they are profitable to God? Do we put as much care and time into our marriages that we do our work or ministries?
Our children- Do our children rise up and call God blessed? Are they taught to do this?
Our lives- Do we reflect the love of God? When we head out into the world, are we profitable and good representatives of God?
That’s a lot to consider, isn’t it? I asked myself all these questions. The Lord convicted me and I repented because I can answer NO to some.
Dear writers, it’s time that we STOP and perceive that all our merchandise is good and profitable to God. That’s what the Virtuous Woman did.
After all, that’s what God did: He perceived that His Son was profitable and good for us. Through Jesus, we are now good enough for God.
Ruth A. Douthitt is an award-winning author of books for kids. Ruth is currently working on a novel for women. She works in curriculum and also teaches women’s Bible study. She lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband of 30 yrs. For more information on Ruth, visit: www.thedragonforest.com
Excellent post. I like to think about my contribution to the Kingdom of God in the same thought process.
Thanks for visiting, Tina! It’s important to reflect on our contributions isn’t it? It’s easy to become so busy that we forget.
Thank you for your insightful post. What strikes me in this verse from Proverbs 31 is the word “perceives.” To me, this word implies a heart attitude.
The virtuous woman’s heart is to please God through what she creates (“her merchandise”). She strives for excellence, not perfection, since the latter is unattainable on this earth. The “goodness” of her work derives from the fact that she has done her best and has done it with the right heart motive.
May we all create our “merchandise” with the right heart motive as we seek to please our Lord through our writing. Thank you again for your thought-provoking post. Blessings to you as you write for King Jesus!
Thank you Dr. MaryAnn! I appreciate your insights as well. So much richness in God’s word. We gain wisdom just by reflecting on one word in a verse! God is amazing. No wonder we all love words and writing. We are created in His image.