“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”
How can the value of a person be calculated? How can we put a price on someone? We can trace the value of a person through our American history by looking first at the slave trade and the price someone would pay to buy a slave. The original cost of a slave was $400, which would translate to $12,000 in today’s economy. As the demand for slaves grew, the value of them grew to about $176,000 in today’s economy. These prices were based on the value of each individual slave and what jobs they were able to perform.
The next quantifiable measure we can evaluate, one that has been hot topic in our recent past, is the pay for minimum wage. Under the Fair Labor Standard Act in 1938 the concept of minimum wage was introduced at a rate of $.25 per hour. As of Sept 1, 2014, Michigan has increased their minimum wage to $8.15 per hour. There has been much controversy over this pay hike. In my opinion, the purpose of minimum wage is not to live on and raise a family. It is meant for teens and others who have limited education or skill sets to earn a wage and introduce them to the concept of work and responsibility. It hopefully encourages them to find a trade or further their education in order to earn a higher wage. People that earn minimum wage do receive pay raises, as any other employee of a company, based on their years with the company and their job performance.
Each of these examples places a value on a person and the work they will perform and the level of expertise they bring to the employment table. Is there really a value that can be placed on a human life?
In an effort to help us understand the value of a virtuous woman or an excellent wife, Proverbs 31:10 tells us, “Her price is far above rubies.” At the time of the writing of this Proverb, the most valuable gem that had been discovered was a ruby. The interesting thing about rubies is how they are made. A ruby belongs to the same family as the sapphire, and receives its color from the element chrome. The fascinating thing about the ruby is the very thing that makes the ruby is also what destroys the ruby. When rubies are formed inside the earth the chrome causes it to have a multitude of fissures and cracks. Thus the chrome not only causes the ruby to have its beautiful red color, but also what causes it to break apart.
The parallel to our lives is amazing. If we compare the chrome to the trials and various circumstances in our lives, these events will either give us a rich character or we will fall apart and have no value for the kingdom of God. We are all defined by our character, but it is the circumstances behind our character that have helped to mold us into who we are as individuals.
What have you done with the circumstances of life? Have you allowed them to make you bitter, or is there a depth of character that has a value “far above rubies?” As we continue to study Proverbs 31, we will see other qualities that will add even more to our character.
You are valuable!
- The ruby is made amidst distress and hardship, yet it comes forth as a valuable gem. How can you be like the ruby? What have the difficult times in your life produced in your heart? Are they negative or positive? Can you see these negative characteristics lived out in your daily life? Can you see the positives lived out?
- I have struggled from deep hurt that produced bitterness, resentment, and a protective instinct. God in His grace has taken 10 years of pain, bitterness, resentment, and self-protection and replaced it with overflowing love. I can take no glory in what has happened because for 10 years I sought to rid myself of these qualities. I could not do it on my own. Through the power of God’s Word those sins have been lifted from my heart. What about you? Will you let God transform your pain into something beautiful, or will you hold onto it like a badge of honor? That badge will go up in smoke when we stand before God someday. Let God transform that chrome into a beautiful ruby. The joy and freedom you feel is life changing.
- Take the time to read the Daniel chapters 1-6. As you read, think about what took Daniel from his homeland to this foreign country. Think about why he was there. Think about the choice he made amidst this difficult situation. What has happened in your life that you could choose to be bitter and resentful over? Now think about what God can do through you if you let Him. Will you let Him transform your heart?
- Read Jeremiah 17:9. What does God say about our hearts?
- Read I Peter 2:9. What does this verse say about who you are?
- What happened between Jeremiah 17:9 and I Peter 2:9?
- You are a princess and God is Your King. What benefits does a princess have?
- If you remember the story of Esther and the laws of the land at this time, what was needed in order to see the King? What is different about our relationship with the King of Kings? Does He have to summon you to see Him?
- Read Hebrews 4:16 and note below how we can approach the King of Kings.
- We need to temper this boldness with Isaiah’s thoughts in Isaiah 6:1-7. How do we apply these two thoughts to our relationship with God?