Oct 5, 2012

Feminine Friday: She is Generous and Hospitable


"She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy."
Proverbs 31:20 (NASB)
Our seventh Feminine Behavior is "she is generous and hospitable." To hear someone described as generous and hospitable, I imagine a kind and unselfish lady who would be willing to help me out when I am in need even when it perhaps isn't convenient for her. I know that I get really wrapped up in the comings and goings of my own little family and sometimes I don't take the time to consider where I might be able to bless someone else. Let's dig in a little deeper to better understand this passage so we can apply it in our lives.

"She extends her hand to the poor." The word extends comes from a Hebrew word that has the meaning of spreading out, stretching, and being scattered. The Hebrew word used here for her hand has two definitions that are either a literal physical hand or figuratively in reference to resources or power. At the end of the sentence we find she extended her hand to the poor. The Hebrew word used here to describe where her generosity was aimed was literally for the needy, afflicted, weak, and lowly. My personal take from this sentence is that she stretched forth both the resources and the physical abilities she had to those afflicted with financial or physical burdens.
"And she stretches out her hand to the needy." The word used here for stretches is similar to the word used for extends above. It has the meaning of sending away, stretching out, or to let go of. The Hebrew word used for the word needy means those who are chiefly poor, subject to oppression and abuse, needing help, the lowest class of people, and those needing deliverance from trouble, especially as delivered by God. In summary, she stretches out to those in need which refers to economic need, physical need, or spiritual need.
I think it is important to consider that she may not have had abundant time to spare on her calendar or an overflowing bank account or no pressing matters to consume her thoughts and emotional stores in her own life. Let us consider that the words extends and stretches may be referring to her stretching the resources she has, perhaps even cutting back on her own expenses and engagements, to be benevolent and neighborly to those in need.
What are some ways we can work on being generous and hospitable to meet the needs of the weak, poor, abused, and spiritually wanting people around us?
  • Prayer - We can pray for God to open our eyes to the people already in our life who have needs. We can pray for those people we know have needs even when we're actively offering them support. We can pray that God uses us no matter what we currently perceive as our capabilities and limitations. We can pray.
  • Saving - We can set aside resources we have such as food, clothing, money, or time to help others. Just because we are unable to offer much of one resource doesn't mean that another way of serving won't be just as valuable to someone in need.
  • Going - A big part about being the generous and hospitable Proverbs 31 woman is consciously achieving more action from the planning and good intentions. Go. Go volunteer. Give money at church. Call that family that's been struggling. Visit that child in the hospital. Sometimes it doesn't even take much to offer hope to someone else.

I would like to end with a reminder that it is a very important calling to serve one's own husband and children. God would not ask a mother or wife or daughter to neglect her responsibilities at home to give what she has - time or money - to others at the expense of her family. Being generous and hospitable does require an element of sacrifice but the truly responsible and conscientious woman will set aside a portion of her resources for giving to others that fits her current stage of life. It may not be right for a mother of young children to be volunteering her time at the soup kitchen but she may be able to save some of her grocery money to donate or pray for that ministry during her children's nap time. Another woman's husband may not approve her to donate money at all for many different reasons but she may just have the time to volunteer with her teenage child or go visiting at the hospital while her baby is sleeping in a carrier. God will provide a way for you to do what He has called YOU to do. Our responsibility is to be alert to His calling and willing to do it.

For more on this series: Feminine Behaviors - 1) She Is Trustworthy, 2) Helpful and Attentive, 3) She Willingly Works Hard, 4) She Is Resourceful, 5) She Is Self-Sacrificing, and 6) She Spends Wisely.
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1 comment:

  1. Well said and very thought provoking!


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