Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD. Proverbs 19:14 NIV
Yesterday I wrote about weddings among the Amish. I thought that I would spend more time on this subject. After all, most of us are married or, if not, know people who are married.
In today’s world, marriage is not always a forever thing. It’s not guaranteed that, when you say “I do” that you will really stick together in sickness and health until death do you part. Full disclosure: I am divorced. And I struggled for a very, very long time with this. In my family, people do not get divorced. It’s just not done. I couldn’t face the inevitable while my dear best friend, my grandmother, was still alive. But shortly after she passed, I took that jump.
Today, I am happily remarried. Oh, there are days that are not so “happily ever after” but that is true in any marriage. I believe that God forgives me for not having been a prudent wife and has afforded me a second chance.
And that’s the key word here: prudence.
Prudent: acting with or showing care and thought for the future
If you consider that definition and re-read the Scripture above, it helps to explain the true meaning of the verse. You see, in today’s world, most people think that about their future in terms of wealth and the accumulation of “things”: second homes, vacations, retirement, country clubs, etc. But Proverbs 19:14 says that these things…materialistic things…are inherited from parents. Back in the days of King Solomon, this was very true. A father’s wealth and acquisitions passed to his son(s).
King Solomon is very clear that earthly possessions are inherited from earthly parents.
So what about this word “prudent”?
The key is in the definition of the word: thought for the future. You see, King Solomon understood that earthly possessions mean nothing if you do not have your eye on the future: salvation. A prudent wife does not insist upon earthly treasures. Instead, she focuses on faith and worship of the Lord. She focuses on what is truly important and not constantly keeping up with the Joneses.
I see this so much in today’s world. Young people who are “entitled” to everything (or so they think). When I taught college, students would baulk that they did not get an A on a paper because “I was always an A student.” They would retaliate by complaining to administration. One student failed my class and should not have graduated. He complained. His parents complained. And the school changed his grade without alerting me so that he could graduate. I was shocked when I saw him saunter across the stage to accept his diploma. What lesson did this teach him? Clearly his eye was on the material things (and he truly was “gifted” that diploma for it was not earned).
I believe that we all need to be prudent “wives”…and not just to our husbands. We need to be prudent to our children, our friends, and our community. It does no one any good to focus on material acquisitions that are undeserved and, frankly, not very important in the big picture of life. We need to teach our children that the future is not ten years, twenty years, or even thirty years. It is eternity. By teaching them this very important lesson, we will teach an entire generation to be prudent and not spend time trying to demonstrate socio-economic superiority over others.