While starting to think about our little (or really big) grocery budget problems, it's important to consider whether it even matters. Is it worth our time to worry about it? Is our need for concern caused by anything more than a desire to save enough on Cheez-its so we can pay the gas bill or buy some new jeans? Is this only about money?
It's so easy to look at the practical parts of homemaking - the cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping - and think they're only things we do. We compartmentalize our lives into two different camps: spiritual issues and practical issues. But that's not how the Bible treats life, and we shouldn't look at our homemaking as though it's the exception.
What the Bible Says About Our Grocery Budget
Proverbs 14:1 tells us, "The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down." I have to admit that my grocery budget seems plagued with "folly" right now. It might not look like it's tearing down my house, but it certainly isn't building it, and we're only given those two options.
The book of Proverbs has plenty to say about both food and the handling of money, and since I'm thinking about these topics in the context of being "the wisest of women", I'm going to take some cues from the excellent wife found in Proverbs 31:10-31.
The passage starts out by telling us that this virtuous woman's husband trusts in her and has no lack of gain (Prov. 31:11). It only stands to reason that she's trustworthy when it comes to their finances. She manages the portion of their money that's under her control in a way that benefits her husband and family. She does not let it slip through her fingers.
But this lovely lady doesn't just sit around saving pennies. She provides good food for her family. She provides really good food for them. We are told that "like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar" (Prov. 31:14). She isn't serving stale bread and glasses of water each night. She also wouldn't serve frozen pizza and hot dogs every single day, I suppose.
She goes to great lengths to put interesting and delicious food on the table. She even rises while it is still night to begin the daily food prep duties (Prov. 31:15). She's no boring, mundane wimp, that's for sure! She searches for extraordinary food and works hard to prepare it. And she does all that while remaining trustworthy with their finances and bringing gain to her husband.
Since God inspired the description of the Proverbs 31 woman, we should take it seriously. This godly example of womanhood should be our guide as we're considering how to improve the state of our kitchen management. We should strive to be trustworthy with our finances, a blessing to our husband and children, and a creative provider of food. That's a tall order!
Our Source of Strength for the Task
We can't let it escape our notice that the final praise given to this amazing woman is that she feared the Lord (Prov. 31:30). The reason behind the incredible things she accomplished in life (including her trustworthy management of food and finances) was that she followed after God.
She wasn't able to put great, cost-effective meals in front of her family because she just happened to be one of those stylish women whom we all love to hate. As a matter of fact, we are reminded that she was not being praised because of her unique charm or beauty. Her abilities came from her fear of God. I don't know about you, but that gives me hope!
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Have you ever considered what the Bible has to say about our kitchen management? Any other verses that guide you?
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