Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field. Afterwards, then, build your house.
So, I have a rule at my house: My daughters can't date until they're 30 – I'm stalling for the rapture 😉 – but my boys can start dating after they get a good job. I know, I know, like I'm ever going to keep my babies stay-at-home Daddy's Girls forever! But I'm actually somewhat serious about what I have instilled in my boys.
Put first things first – don't start down the road of love and romance until you know you can (and are able) to see it through to the end! Many a young bucking broncos go out full steam to woo the “perty” country girl that they have sights their set on, but simply don't have the financial wherewithal to support her – let alone a family should the “inevitable” happen!
So many of us put the cart before the horse that we sit in bewilderment when things go awry.
Our Lord make it crystal clear:
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace…” (Luke 14:27-32)
When I first read Proverbs 24, I was a baby Christian. Young, single and nothing but idealistic visions of my future. At the time, I understood this passage as an admonishment to make sure that I get a good job and establish my “work outside in field” before getting married – i.e. “building my house.” It made sense to me to start a life-long journey with my future wife on the right foot; at least financially-speaking. Hence, the indissoluble rule in my house about dating and courting.
Applicable to virtually every area of life, the wisdom to put first things first is a timeless reminder to count the cost for any endeavor our hearts are set on accomplishing.