A man stood in a field, surveying an apple tree. He marvelled at how wonderful the tree was. It provided comforting shade in the heat of the noonday sun while still allowing glinting sun rays to reach the man's feet, dancing across the grass. Its apples were round and ripe, the perfect shade of deep, blood red. No worms were found in any of the tempting fruit -- each one was without blemish. The jewel tones of the leave and the fruit were a pleasure to behold. It was an apple tree beyond any tree, providing relief in the heat, fruit ripe for the picking and joy to the eye.
Tearing himself away from this flawless specimen, the man walked on. He came to a peach tree, and he stood disappointed in front of it. It wasn't as tall as the apple tree, and its fruit wasn't smooth like the apple. The man sighed at the color of the peach, wishing it were redder. The leaves were shaped wrong and because of its height, it was difficult to find relief under its branches. This tree did not measure up.
I think this might be my problem with the Proverbs 31 passage about a woman. God creates each of us to bear the fruit of our potential. To extol the virtues of an apple tree is wonderful; to expect a peach tree to bear apples is silly.
Agreeing with JtM, we are to produce fruit, but each of us to produce the fruit for which we are created. What bothers me about the Proverbs passage is when it is used to measure my fruit against the fruit of the woman in the scripture. It's not a problem with the passage as much as it is with how we use the passage.
Labels: Old Testament