Beyond Pearls

When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates. Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

searchI love that Old Testament reading from yesterdays’s Mass. It might be my favorite from the Old Testament.

The reading is just a snippet from the entire passage, and it focuses on the wife’s role as a homemaker. The passage in its entirety goes on to describe how a good wife conducts business, buying and planting a vineyard, and works hard with her strong arms, all in an effort to take care of her family. I think the message is lovely. And it doesn’t have to simply apply to women, nor do I think it’s supposed to.

The point is, I think, that good looks will eventually go away, even with the benefits of surgery or botox. Money doesn’t buy happiness. And we all know people who are charming to our face and bitter and nasty behind our backs.

The only thing that truly makes us happy is loving God and serving others in his name.

My niece Maggie asked me recently, “Aunt, do you serve up Bill’s dinner plate, and do you make him lunch?”

I do, and said so.

“I do the same thing, but I’m not sure I should be since he’s able to get his own food,” she went on. “But Mark works hard and I think it’s probably ok to do it.”

Her comments came back to me as I listened to the words from Proverbs. In our quest for equality, it seems we might be missing the forest for the trees. I don’t think we should ever feel guilty for being kind.

We are preparing to go back to Denver on Tuesday. Yesterday afternoon I ran to a big discount grocery store called Winco to get some coffee so that when we come back here in December, there is coffee waiting for us. I was crabby because the Broncos were stinking it up on the football field against a team they should have been beating. Anyhoo, I had my one little bag of coffee and noticed long check-out lines with overflowing buggies. I resigned myself to a long wait.

Suddenly, the man ahead of me turned around, noticed I only had one item, and invited me to go ahead of him.

I initially deferred, thanking him for his kindness. But he was very insistent so I went ahead.

It changed my entire day for the better, as little acts of kindness are wont to do. It occurred to me that this friendly and kind man was, whether he realized it or not, serving God just like the good wife. I hope this man’s works praise him at the city gates.

4 thoughts on “Beyond Pearls

  1. Kris, after we talked about this reading yesterday I reread it and it settled in my mind better. Thanks for bringing it alive today.

  2. I love this excerp and your interpretation. In fact it may be my favorite from among other favorites posted on your blog.

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