Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
November 17th, 2021
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is more valuable than rubies” Proverbs 31:10
The above-quoted text is from the relatively well-known and beautiful “epilogue” of the book of Proverbs: the description of the woman (wife) of noble character*. Throughout the next several verses, one gets an image of a woman who is loving & caring, yet capable and self-confident in public. You’re invited to read the full passage (Prov. 31:10-31), but we’ll just summarize it here: She is trusted by her spouse, she blesses & provides for her household, she is productive, she is a shrewd trader, she is generous, she brings honor to her family, she is strong & dignified, she is well-spoken, and well-spoken of. Truly the whole community is blessed by a person of such character in their midst.
In considering this a little while ago, I thought of the New Testament concept, in connection with this, of the church being the “bride of Christ” (see Ephesians 5:25-32). That would therefore mean that we, as Christ metaphorically being our husband, and we metaphorically his wife (perhaps ‘fiancé’ would be more appropriate given where we are at this point in time in this illustration), that we should be fulfilling similar roles within the household (church), and out in society (our broader community).
Notice that the wife isn’t described as a shrew, a nag, or an idle loiterer or a gossip. She doesn’t expect to primarily be served, but is content and fulfilled in serving others. She blesses and benefits people within her own household, and those outside as well. She is a crucial part of the community’s vibrant life.
The question that is naturally begged, then, the implication that comes to us is: how are we doing in fulfilling such characteristics? What do people think of when they drive by our church? An insular, conspiracy-theory – filled clique, who are more quick to condemn than to engage & benefit?
Often I’m concerned about how the church (and therefore, Christ) is perceived in society. It’s true that we often get a ‘bad rap’ that is undeserved (Jesus prophesied that we would be hated without cause, as He was, in John 15:18), but let’s do everything in our power, in our personal interactions, to refute that false stereotype!
I pray that people who either come to our property for some reason (whether overtly religious or for some other community benefit), or encounter us in the marketplace or our workplaces, would come away re-thinking their preconceived notions of us. Over time this can contribute to our image being changed from an insular, closed-minded group to a knowledgeable and helpful contributor to society.
I pray our neighbors & broader community would see us much as the “Woman of Noble Character” of Proverbs 31. Let’s be self-examinatory (both individually and corporately) to examine what and how we might do to bring that about.
Blessings to you & your families the remainder of this week & beyond.
Pastor Mark Tatum
(* the word “Ishah” in Hebrew, is the same for either ‘woman’ or ‘wife’, since it is assumed that a grown woman would be married. In a society in which spouses were more selected for the young men/women than self-chosen, there would be no reason to assume a woman wouldn’t be married)