25 02 2014


10pm and not remotely close to being tired for some reason, I pulled the movie Secretariat off my shelf and sat down to watch oh maybe 30 minutes and then lights out…that was the plan anyway. Don’t get me wrong this is a good movie, I just did not want to watch the whole thing, and I had a 6:30am phone appointment in the morning.

 Early in the movie Diane Lane, who plays Penny Chenery the owner of Secretariat, gets a phone call that her mother has died.  The movie starts to come back to me and my 30 minutes and to bed idea disappears.

What caught my attention about the movie this time was Diane Lane/Penny Chenery.

Recently in one of my men’s group a situation arose that lead me to look at the Biblical concept of women. One place to look of course is Proverbs 31.

I was struck by the movies portrayal of Penny Chenery and how I saw in her so many of the attributes listed in Proverbs 31.

Proverbs 31:10-31

Vs 10. Virtuous woman. (See Ruth 3:11) The crown of her husband (Prov.12:4)

Vs12. She is created to bring man good not harm.

Vs 14 &18. She is an enterprising person.

Vs15. She is not a sluggard. (See Proverbs 6:7-11 for sluggard).

Vs16. She shows good judgment. (Unlike Proverbs 24:30-31)

Vs17. She works hard. Many Proverbs praise diligence and the profit it brings, and they condemn laziness as a cause of hunger and poverty.

Vs18. Her profit or value. Her wisdom is more valuable than rubies (see vs 10, 3:1-15, 8:11).

Vs20. Showing mercy to the poor, sharing food, lending money, defending rights, are ways to show kindness and honor God

Vs21, 22, 25. Refers to high quality linen (wool, silk). Seems to apply to one’s appearance, care in how one looks. Also, referring to being clocked in honor. “Rejoice in time to come.” She is free from anxiety and worry concerning her future. (Well, maybe not so much this last part)

Vs26. She is a wise and loving counselor to her husband, children and friends.

Vs27. Manages her household

Vs28. Because of the happy environment she creates and the joy she radiates to others.

Penny Chenery stayed the course with her investment, Secretariat, even when those closest to her, her brother and husband, tried to discourage her, tried to get her to sell the horse farm and Secretariat.

While Proverbs talks of a virtuous woman I think one of the lessons from it, for us men, would be “how do I as a man encourage and affirm a woman, wife, daughter, so that they want to be a Proverbs 31 woman?

Penny Chenery’s husband and brother did not support her until the Triple Crown was won. Her husband did, however, show signs of confidence, tentative confidence, in his wife after the Preakness (2nd race) was won. At the Belmont Ball he admits that he has learned something from her. (Well he was a lawyer, major pride swallow there. Glad I don’t have that issue…pride).

Proverbs 31 tells us that a woman seeking God’s heart is competent, resourceful, loving, a wonderful home builder and capable of being a business woman.

Another question to consider: Am I man enough to not only allow a woman to pursue the leading of the Lord but to also encourage and support it? This is not to say that her endeavor would/will be different than a husbands, as it was in Secretariat, she may be meant to be an active partner with her husband. Genesis mentions something about God saying man needs a helper.

I have a very good friend who is very good at business and has owned his own businesses, he said to me, after a divorce, that a man should never let his wife know anything about his business. True enough, considering his choice in women (I’m not judging here, my recoded speaks for itself…not good). He is married today, happily, going on 14 years, to a wonderful Christian woman who is involved in every aspect of their business, a very successful business. 14 years ago God chose his wife.

Genesis 21:12 God tells Abraham to listen to his wife.

 At the end of the movie it is noted that Penny Chenery saved the family horse farm and her family.

You and I are called to be the spiritual leaders of our families and those who God brings into our lives to disciple, mentor and encourage.  Part of being that spiritual leader is allowing and encouraging those closest to us to stretch their legs to run the race God has called them to run. When allowed to run God’s race there is no telling the impact that person will have on others and the building of our Father’s Kingdom.

In 1973 Secretariat was the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. He set record times in all 3 races that still stand today.  He won the Belmont by 31 lengths.

What will those I love accomplish if given the encouragement and support they need?

Dave Fulton, NWMC Board of Directors



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