Merchant ships and a godly wife? What? How can those two even be in the same sentence? Seems crazy, right, but bear with me, friends. In Proverbs 31 verse 14, we read “She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.”

food management merchant ships, godly wife, Proverbs 31:14 homemade foods

We know that for hundreds, or even thousands, of years, merchant ships brought food from other countries. Even today, most countries import food from around the world and much of it arrives on merchant ships. In our homes, however, we bring our food from the supermarket or, sometimes even our own gardens. In most cases (of course, not all), the wife does the food shopping. Some wives go from market to market looking for the best deal or best items, others, like me, choose to shop at only one place for convenience. We also have a very large garden and can our vegetables each year.

In Biblical times and even just a few decades ago, most food was not bought prepared. The flax was ground, the dough was knead and the bread baked. Today, much of what we buy all of that has been done for us. Does that mean that because we buy store bought instead of homemade that we are not godly wives? Absolutely not, but let’s take a look at the benefits of homemade versus pre-prepared:

Benefits of Homemade versus Prepared Foods, food management merchant ships, godly wife, Proverbs 31:14 homemade foods



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  • Homemade food is fresher and not loaded with preservatives that must be added to already prepared food to allow for a longer shelf life
  • Homemade is more natural and healthy (see above but the ingredients themselves tend to be healthier, as well)
  • Similar to healthier, homemade food doesn’t have the high sodium content that store canned and frozen food has
  • Homemade is cheaper, in most cases, then store prepared and purchased
  • You can add love as an ingredient to homemade food. Sounds cheesy, but if you make a casserole, by hand, as opposed to heating up a frozen dinner, which do you think shows that you went the extra mile to show love to your husband and family?
  • Homemade doesn’t always mean that it takes longer to make.

Please don’t mistake what I’m saying here. I’m not saying that by buying prepared foods you are not a wife of noble character or are a bad wife. There are always times that buying prepared makes sense – I do it, too (For example, I don’t bake my own bread. I always say I will, but I don’t). What I’m saying is that there are many benefits to making homemade food.

I enjoyed this article about the benefits of homemade food including several easy recipes for you to try. And this one with 45 healthy and fairly easy homemade recipes.

How are you supposed to fit in making homemade foods? Well, many homemade foods don’t really take much longer (if at all) to make than store bought. You can also set aside time one night per week to cook in batches or once a month on a Saturday or Sunday after church. You will love the taste and the savings, as well as your husband’s appreciation!

Another way that you can be like merchant ships is by meal planning and preparation. In this post HERE, I shared the basics of meal planning. By meal planning and preparation, you will save money (less on takeout), time and stress. Adding meal planning was the single thing that made our home run smoother and saved me time, money and headaches. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Finally, by having staple ingredients in your pantry, you can more easily meal plan and create quick, homemade meals without a last-minute run to the supermarket. Here is a list of the items that I always have on hand, ensuring that I can create a meal in a pinch. Even I occasionally get behind in meal planning or can’t get to the store for one reason or another (weather, car troubles, tight budgets, illness, etc.):

Pantry Staples food management merchant ships, godly wife, Proverbs 31:14 homemade foods


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  • Vegetables – we can from our garden, but sometimes we run out or need things that we don’t grow. Our favorites are tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, a variety of peppers and carrots.
  • Fruit – bananas, apples, oranges and berries
  • Eggs – we are fortunate to have nearly 30 chickens to provide us fresh eggs year round
  • Whole milk
  • deli meat (turkey, chicken and ham – I alternate)
  • yogurt
  • Fresh garlic bulbs


  • Variety of organic, frozen vegetables (e.g., broccoli, green beans, corn, mixed vegetables, carrots)
  • variety of fish (salmon and tilapia mostly)
  • Chicken – breasts, parts and whole chickens
  • ground beef
  • whole beef (I look for what is on sale)
  • pork (we buy a hog each year for about $150. The meat lasts us for about 9 months, sometimes more – except bacon – we go through a lot of bacon!)
  • various cheeses (shredded, block and sliced. we always have cheddar and mozzarella, but will buy others as they are on sale)


  • crackers (saltines, graham, ritz)
  • canned beans (black beans, navy beans, garbanzo, and pinto beans)
  • seasonings (basil, oregano; garlic, onion, salt – table and kosher, pepper, dill weed, thyme, etc.)
  • white bread and whole grain bread (my husband prefers white, I prefer whole grain)
  • Naan bread (for making homemade pizzas)
  • rice (white, basmati, jasmine, long grain)
  • pasta (varieties)
  • some chips (usually Cape Cod chips)
  • peanut butter
  • local honey
  • tortillas (for tacos, burritos and breakfast burritos)
  • olive oil
  • cereal and oatmeal
  • vinegar (red, white, balsamic and rice)
  • vegetable oil
  • flour
  • sugar
  • corn starch
  • beef, chicken, and vegetable stock

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of my pantry and refrigerator, but I always have these items on hand. With them, I am prepared to create a homemade meal without a trip to the store. (I happen to live twenty minutes from the grocery store. Certainly not convenient if I forget an ingredient!). I am always looking for new ways to be a godly wife (or like merchant ships!)

food management merchant ships, godly wife, Proverbs 31:14 homemade foods

There are many verses in the Bible about storing food for the future, I like to remind myself of these as I food shop and plan meals for my husband. Here are some of my favorites:

Genesis 41:35
“Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it.

Luke 12:19
‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘

Proverbs 3:10
So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.

How are you like merchant ships? Do you meal plan? Do you prepare more homemade foods than store bought? Tell me about your experience with this.

For an epic guide to eating at home vs. eating out, take a look at this guide by

For a beautiful bound meal planning and pantry inventory list, I love this one:

If you want to dig deeper, check out my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Wife:  A Verse by Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.


In Him,


Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women deepen their walk with God through Bible study and creative worship and strengthen their marriages.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.
Susan Nelson