Monday, October 5, 2009

A Financially-Productive Woman by Glynnis Whitwer

"She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes." Proverbs 31:24 (NIV)

In today's economy, I look for every way to save money. I'm a sale-shopping, coupon-clipping, leftover-loving woman. I'm a firm believer in Benjamin Franklin's well-known adage, "A penny saved is a penny earned." And this past couple of years, my family has certainly had to apply that to our lives in greater measure.

Sometimes, however, saving money just isn't enough. As many families face a reduced income due to layoffs and company closures, there are only so many ways to cut corners. So I'm also a believer in trying to make money in creative ways. As many of us wonder what the future holds financially, I'd like to suggest we look at a biblical example of how to use the resources we have within our homes to increase our families' incomes.

One of the best examples I know is found in Proverbs 31. Throughout chapter 31 we meet a woman who was a good manager of all her resources, and in verse 24, we learn that she used her weaving skills to make money. As I consider this women's ingenuity, I learn that she identified a need (merchants needed sashes) and then used her skills (making garments) and energy (selling them) to increase her family's financial well being.

I wonder if many of us overlook this principle as we face a financially shaky future with dread. Perhaps we don't need to look for an employer that is hiring, but instead should consider how to use the resources God has already given us. On a recent trip, I met a wonderful example of a woman doing just that. She is past retirement age, lives alone and wanted to bring in extra income. Since I'm a small business owner, our commonalities got us talking.

This productive woman buys used wool sweaters, shrinks them and sews them into designer mittens using other fabrics and decorative accents. Then she sells them in a local shop where she has a booth. That's not all she sells. She has added hand-made products made by women working at home in other countries, plus some unique new clothing items she buys and resells. It all started with a creative idea, the use of her talents and some energy to sell them.

Artistic talents aren't the only resource we have to help our families. Many people have other skills that can be used to increase incomes. Some examples are physical strength, athletic training, organization, planning, love of travel, cooking, gardening and cleaning. Many have families that can help. This past summer I watched a local landscaper work every week with his two sons by his side. They are a family pulling together when it counts most.

No one wishes for hard financial times – though we can learn much in them. When God is on our side, there are always opportunities waiting to be uncovered. Instead of dreading the future, perhaps God wants to tap into the unique resources He has planted within our lives and family for such a time as this.

Dear Lord, I thank You today for the many resources You have given me. Thank You for my life, for my mind, for what health I have and for the hope you offer. Please help me to see how I might use these resources to become more financially productive. Only You know the true depth of my needs. So today I ask for Your help. I know I can do all things through You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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