The Proverbs 31 Woman: An excellent wife, but oh…what an entrepreneur!
10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
14She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
20She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
26She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
We will see in this chapter that a free market system needs more than just free markets. It needs problem solvers who are willing and able to bear risk, to make prudent forecasts of the future, to properly appraise values, and someone who is alert to opportunities and willing to act. The unnamed Proverbs 31 woman (P31W, hereafter) fits all of these categories and more—she may well be the ultimate entrepreneur. She is an incredibly important biblical example of entrepreneurship for many reasons. First, we see she was very effective; every one of her actions led to a good result. Second, she modeled diligence both in her hard work as well as her charitable heart in action. Third, this combination of action and attitude is highly commended in the Bible—it offers an unconditional model of service. The P31W epitomizes John Wesley’s admonition to make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can! When you do this, people will bless you and praise you. Many have done nobly, but you excel them all! For a detailed exegesis of the economics of the P31W (from which the material herein is drawn), look here.”
This chapter will give you an appreciation of the necessity of entrepreneurship to deal with an uncertain future, as well as define some of the most important traits and characteristics of entrepreneurs. The P31W will be our model for the ideal entrepreneur, although we will also introduce other biblical examples of entrepreneurship.
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