Chapter 3 Excerpt

Chapter Three

Every Home’s Power Plant

Just outside our home is a small, single line that carries electricity from the pole to our house. It provides the power we need for such modern things as lights, heat, air conditioning, phones, and computers. Some are necessities, some conveniences, some luxuries. Regardless, they would each be unusable were it not for the power we receive from electricity.

Think about all that is involved in power systems today. Your home’s power line runs out to a pole near your house, where it is connected to a bigger, longer line. This longer line feeds into other lines and eventually into a substation, which distributes power to entire neighborhoods or communities. Behind all that is a complicated regional system that produces the needed electricity. This requires electric-generating plants, yet more electric lines and the people to keep it all working. Were it not for this intricate system, none of us would enjoy even one kilowatt-hour of power.

The same concept is also true in the human body. No doubt we exercise our power each day in things like walking, lifting, thinking, working, eating, digesting, etc. But without healthy cells, none of those things would ever be possible; the cell is the building block — the starting point — for life.

Have you ever wondered what powers a cell? They are called mitochondria, and they are commonly referred to as the cell’s power plant. Specifically, the mitochondria metabolize food, creating energy for your body. Without the mitochondria, your cells couldn’t function. And without cells, you wouldn’t be here.

Just as cities and bodies have power plants, so does a home. And a home’s power plant is the woman. Truly, a wife/mother energizes everyone around her. She carries the power, as “Mito-mom,” to strengthen and provide for all under her care and to extend her influence even beyond her walls. As poet William Ross Wallace wrote in 1865, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”[1]

The author of Psalm 128 exclaimed the same thing — women carry incredible power! The psalmist, however, used the analogy of a wonderfully weaving vine that brings nourishment and health to the budding fruit connected to her. Similar to the power plant of a city or cell, a vine is the central distribution agent of energy and strength.

A Fruitful Vine?

Nicknames abound in our home. And when it comes to Julie, my wife, I’m rarely at a loss for a romantic tag or label that catches her attention. But “fruitful vine?” That one slipped by me. And I suspect she’s glad it did! Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever used a horticultural or agricultural term when referring to her.

Yet, that’s exactly the picture painted for us by the Psalmist. Look at his descriptive words:

“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house …” Psalm 128:3

He no doubt had a braver tongue than me, but with good reason. The meaning behind the picture of a “fruitful vine” is a beautifully significant one. It helps us understand more about the powerful, prominent role women occupy in the family environment.

Lest you think this vine allusion is trivial, remember that God described the land the Israelites were promised as a land of many vines,[2] and Jesus referred to himself as “The Vine.”[3] Obviously, it is a symbol of substantial value. To us in the 21st-century, this might not seem like a very significant description. But to people living in the times of the Bible, it was of prime importance and substantial meaning.

What It Is

Technically, the fruitful vine depicted in this phrase is a winding, climbing type of plant; a running “creeper,” you might say. It is fruit or flower bearing, as well. Essentially, it is an extending conduit of nourishment, life, and refreshment to everything connected to it.

Furthermore, dictionaries give additional insight into vines when they define them as “weak stemmed plants.”[4] In other words, these winding, nourishing, life-giving vines need support; they need a sure foundation and solid footing, such as good soil, a strong fence, or capable cage. Picture a garden with cucumber or watermelon vines, or even a vineyard of grape vines, and you’ll get the right visual of a fruitful vine.

A woman with a home-centered lifestyle is much the same. She winds her way through her family, bringing nourishment and sustenance to everyone connected to her. She is far more indispensable than our culture realizes, and her ability to influence all attached to her should not be underestimated. With certainty, she is the hub of what happens in the home, the central carrier of life and energy. Undoubtedly, she needs the support of her husband to carry out these responsibilities, and we’ll say more about that later. Those linked to her are absolutely dependent upon her as a sustainer and source of life.

Understanding this makes me realize that God, through the psalmist, paid a compliment of the highest level to women when he referred to them as fruitful vines. Surely He has underscored to us her important home responsibilities and the value she holds to everyone in her family.

[1]Author of many poems and hymns, William Ross Wallace is most famous for this poem, which he wrote as a tribute to motherhood. Edgar Allen Poe referred to Wallace as “one of the very noblest of American poets.” Wallace died in 1881.

[2]Numbers 13:25-27

[3]John 15:5

[4]The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright 2000.

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