Last week, Refresh Mom posted a meme of sorts (what does that word mean anyway?) on her blog called “Ruby Tuesdays”. You can read more about it here. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably understand that I’m not one for this type of thing; still and yet, something drew me toward this one, and today I make my first offering in a series of Tuesday posts that will be directly linked to my thoughts about the Proverbs 31 woman. I know that http://refreshmoments.com/welcomes your participation in Ruby Tuesdays at any level.
She’s always bothered me, this P31 woman. Not for the reasons you might think. I’m all about her flaxen and her early morning arrivals to the scene of her life. Her trading and her sewing, her spinning and her wisdom. Indeed, all noble qualities of an exceptional woman … back then. But this is now, and sometimes, it’s hard to draw the parallel between the two.What bothers me about her is that I’m not her. I don’t imagine that in my wildest imaginings I will ever hold that honor. And to be honest with you, a part of me resents her as my standard—bearer, the measuring stick to be used for my measuring up.
That being said, her epitaph is a worthy read. After all, it’s a part of holy writ—intended for contemplation and assimilation. And while I don’t reason her to be the sum total of my perfection, I think her life worthy of more than my immediate dismissal. It’s an itch that I need to scratch, if for nothing more than to find the ointment to soothe the ache between what I am and what God longs for me to be.
A rare find.
A woman worth more than rubies. A woman of noble character.
Noble. Chayil in the Hebrew language, a masculine noun meaning, “strength, might, ability, and efficiency.”[i]
Thus, a loose translation of Proverbs 31:10 … “A wife of strength, might, ability, and efficiency, who can find? She is more valuable than rubies.”
To understand the depth of such a statement, one must understand the worthy nature of a ruby. Accordingly, my contemplation begins.
1. A ruby is one of four precious gemstones, the others being a sapphire, emerald, and diamond. Precious gemstones are less common requiring a harder dig and a more intensive search, therefore increasing their value; semi-precious stones are more readily available, easier to find, and easier to pocket.
A woman of noble character, therefore, is a precious gem, less common and more valuable.
2. A ruby is admired and cherished for its color. Its color ranges from pink to blood red, with a vivid, medium dark-toned red (sometimes coined as a “pigeon red blood”) being the most desirable. Another words, the richer and deeper the hue, the more valuable the stone.
A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman who exhibits the rich and the deep of a sacrificial blood.
3. A ruby is valuable because of its hardness. Hardness is a term used to describe the durability of a substance. The harder the gemstone, the higher its resistance to various kinds of shape change when force is applied.[ii]
A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman not easily shaped by outside forces. Instead, her tough exterior allows her the careful protection over her tender interior.
4. A ruby carries imperfections within. The inclusions of rutile within the ruby verify its authenticity. Rutile is a mineral resembling silk like needles or slender crystals that occur naturally within the formation of certain stones over time. Rather than detracting from a ruby’s worth, it adds value because of its capacity to create asterism.
A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman who allows her “needles” their place toward exemplifying her worth.
5. With multiple rutile intersecting at the correct angles, a ruby holds the capacity for asterism. Asterism is an “exclusive light effect (which we called special optical phenomenon) of some crystal. When light pass through these crystals, its exhibit [is] a star-shaped figure, which [is] called “asterism”. This figure is produced by reflected or transmitted light.”[iii] For one to “see” the asterism, the stone must be illuminated.
A woman of noble character, therefore, is a woman who allows her needles the Light’s illumination from within and behind in order to project the beauty of her star to an outward audience.
Thus, a ruby…
is a precious and harder to find gemstone.
is colored with the rich and deep of a sacrificial red.
is hard and resistant to the insistence of outside forces.
is filled with needle-like imperfections.
contains the capacity for a star’s illumination.
A woman of strength and might, a P31 woman?
Well, all of this and more. Indeed, who can find a woman like that? Better still, who can shape and mold a woman accordingly?
Only One. And He did. And He does. And He is and will always be…
the Light—our behind the scenes illumination—who purifies and refines our inward so that our outward becomes the stuff of star status. A noble and sacred beholding that points the way to Jesus and that leads the way to his heart.
May He be found in me this day. May He be found in you also. Thus, I pray…
Let me be a rare find in your kingdom today, Lord. Refine my imperfections for your glory, and shine your light through me so that others might see your star and find their way home. You are the Star, Father, not me. Forgive me for ever thinking otherwise. Make me strong; make me mighty; make me holy, and keep me willing and on the path to your perfection in me. How I long to be a precious jewel in your crown. Amen.
Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen
PS: Congrats to Beth E. She’s the winner of a family resource from the previous post. Please email me your selection, Beth!