Proverbs 31:18

Proverbs 31:18

AMP: She tastes and sees that her gain from work (with and for God) is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night (of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust).

CEV: She knows when to buy or sell and she stays busy until late at night.

MSG: She senses the worth of her work, and is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

This virtuous woman could sense the worth of her work, and was wise enough to know that on those days when she was especially energetic, she should keep working, never in a hurry to stop her work.  I would liken it to those times of the month when I am literally hit with a ‘cleaning bug,’ and I feel motivated to work extra hard on the house and other chores.

The CEV version made me think of the many times when I have looked at the grocery ads, and I was able to quickly determine if now was the time to buy meat.

On the practical side of knowing when to sell, I have learned that it’s best to have a garage sale early in the season.  People are eager to get out and go to garage sales, meaning that you stand a much better chance of selling your ‘junk,’ and turning it into someone else’s treasures!

When many of us become mothers, we likely traded in a paycheck for a job as a stay-at-home mom, working much longer hours, but with no paycheck at the end of the week.  We can all testify to having traded many nights of sleep in for staying awake with a sick child.  Motherhood is one of those jobs that forces us to trade our desires, our plans, and our wants in order to take care of someone else’s needs.

Sometimes we will find that our trading is profitable in unsurpassed ways.  Yet, there are other times when we feel like we’ve traded ourselves out, and gotten the short end of the deal.  While we remember to check on other people throughout the day, we often find that we forget to check ourselves!  If we do try to take some time for ourselves, we will hear someone calling our name, the phone will ring, or the doorbell will ring!

It reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins.  Five of them made were wise, making sure that they kept some of the oil for themselves.  They knew that a crisis would eventually come, and they were wise enough to make sure that they had some reserve oil on hand for that moment.  We pour out our oil constantly, whether it’s to our husband, our children, our extended family, our church, public school, homeschool, or even community activities.  Every day we are ‘filling someone else’s lamp’ with oil.  While there’s nothing wrong with doing that, if we aren’t careful, we find ourselves ‘tapped out’ or ‘running on empty.’

A few months ago, I had neglected to take the car in for an oil change.  The light came on that says ‘Check oil soon.’  We don’t have a light that flashes for us to let us know when the oil in our lamp is low, but a good indication of it is our attitude.  If we are tired, crabby, easily angered, and stressed over the smallest detail, it’s a good indication that our spiritual oil needs to be changed.  How much oil is in our lamp?  If we aren’t careful, we will soon discover that we can’t even muster enough strength to care for ourselves, let alone anyone else.  We’re so tired that our spirit is weak.  That will leave us in a vulnerable state where we will react to situations in a carnal nature, rather than responding in a godly fashion. We’ve left ourselves without the oil for our lamp.

In the Amp. version of this verse, we see that this virtuous woman didn’t allow her lamp to burn out.  How do we keep our lamps from burning out?  For starters, we MUST take time for ourselves, getting alone with the Lord.  So many times, we are plagued with guilt for feeling that we need time to ourselves.  Don’t be trapped by this lie of the enemy!  Even Jesus needed time alone.  If the Son of God needed those quiet moments, how can we possibly feel that we can skip those times and have any reserve of oil in our lamps?  IF we take time daily to get alone with the Father, He will be faithful to help the ‘input’ of oil to exceed the ‘output.’  If we keep our spiritual lamp burning bright, even in the midst of any trouble, sorrow, fears, or doubts, the light that is burning within us will sustain us, even in the darkest, loneliest hours of the night.

Have you checked your oil lately?

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

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