In August, my husband and I went to a baseball game in the city with a friend of ours. Before the game, we went and grabbed some barbecue food at a local popular restaurant. After dinner we walked to the ballpark. Along the way, we would occasionally pass a homeless person sitting on the side of the street. As we stopped at a corner for a red light, there was an older man sitting in a wheelchair. As we stood waiting for the traffic to clear, I smiled at that gentleman. He looked at me and brightly smiled back. Looking down at our bags of BBQ leftovers, I knew deep down we didn't have a need for them. I walked over to the gentleman and introduced myself, "Hi, my name is Patty, what is your name?" He smiled and responded, "I'm Sam." I handed Sam our two bags of BBQ leftovers and told him I would really like him to have them. Sam looked at me with eyes bright and happily accepted. We smiled at each other again and I walked back over to my group just in time to make the light to cross the street. I couldn't tell you who won the game that night, but I can tell you I was really glad I listened to the gentle prompting of the Spirit to go talk to Sam that night.
Sometimes I think we as women struggle comparing ourselves to each other. We create (at times) unrealistic expectations of ourselves and then when we don't meet them we feel like a big, fat failure because we couldn't do it as well or even better than so-and-so. The goal is not to beat ourselves up when the house is a mess, the kids are acting crazy, or your cooking abilities do not match up to Martha Stewart. That's the lesson I take from the woman in Proverbs 31. Yes home management, cooking, cleaning, kid wrangling, your job, etc. are all good things, but ladies, let's be honest, sometimes it can be all-consuming. What I find so striking and beautiful about the Proverbs 31 woman, is amidst all those different things in life she makes it a priority to reach out to the needy and poor. She reaches outside of herself to others amid the busyness of her daily life.
I know sometimes I have thought that needy or poor people meant those who are homeless on the streets. But the poor come in all different shapes and sizes: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Who are the poor people in your own life? How can you be love to them? Look for situations where you can reach out to the poor and needy people you encounter in your own life.
May we not miss moments of grace to open our hands and reach out the poor in our everyday lives. But rather, let us "stay awake and be sober" always on the lookout for an opportunity to meet Christ in the faces of all we encounter.
Patty Hubbard is a new-ish wife finishing grad school, working in youth ministry, and learning to cook more than your average Lean Cuisine. You can find out more about her here.