Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Practicing Prudence

"Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD." - Proverbs 19:14

As I read this verse a few days ago during devotions, I was once again struck by it. "I want to be a blessing from You to a Godly man one day," I prayed. "Lord, mold me into a prudent woman." But then I stopped. Did I really know what it meant to be prudent? I had read this verse again and again, yet had never really paused to think through what prudence really was.

Prudence is not mentioned in this verse alone, nor is it applied only to women. It is a recurring them throughout Proverbs, as it admonishes us to live a "disciplined and prudent life" (1:3) and tells us that the book is for the purpose of "giving prudence to the simple" (1:4). Wisdom also calls to the simple to "gain prudence" (8:5). We are told that a prudent man "overlooks an insult" (12:16), "keeps his knowledge to himself" (12:23), "acts out of knowledge" (13:16), "gives thought to his ways/steps" (14:8,15), "heeds correction" (15:5), and "sees danger and takes refuge" (22:3, 27:12). We also learn that "the prudent are crowned with knowledge" (14:18). Obviously, prudence is an important virtue to have!

Because prudence isn't a word that we ordinarily use these days, I pulled out our big blue dictionary and looked it up. It has two definitions, ones that truly fit in with the descriptions of the prudent in Proverbs:
Prudence = 1. Wise thought before acting; good judgment
2. Good management; economy

As maidens and, most likely, future wives, prudence is a character trait that we should work hard to learn! To be a lady who gives "wise thought before acting" and has "good judgment" is to be a lady who will do well in whatever tasks she does. Remembering to think before we act will take practice and time, but if we purpose to make it a habit, things will ultimately turn out better. If we are a wife, prudence will be invaluable as we seek to support our husbands and talk through things with them. If God blesses us with children, prudence will help us guide them wisely.

Prudence also means "good management" and "economy." To have this is also to have something that will be invaluable as a wife or in any role in life. How many women do you know whose husbands complain about them spending too much money shopping? On the other hand, how many women do you know whose husbands praise them for their frugality and good management of the home affairs? Purpose to be one of the latter by learning to make do with what you have. Use things well and help them last instead of always wanting the newest and best. Learn to make a home pretty and tasteful inexpensively and on a budget. A woman who can do this will be a jewel indeed and truly a crown to her husband (Proverbs 12:4).

Join me in seeking to truly learn and practice prudence, so that we may be women of who others can one day say, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22).

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Yes, prudence is an excellent and undervalued character quality. And it is so essential to the success of a Christian family. Thanks for posting this!