In this series on the book of Proverbs, we are looking at godly wisdom. Last week we learned that when God created the world, He built into its patterns. Understanding God’s patterns can help us unlock His wisdom, and walking in His patterns, submitting to them, allows us to walk the path of wisdom. If we really desire wisdom, we must pursue it, and our charge is to fall in love with wisdom and the source of wisdom, Jesus.
Today we look at how to succeed at work, not just in our jobs or careers but in all our responsibilities. As a nation, we are overworked but disengaged. The prevailing philosophy towards work seems to be “minimal effort for maximum results”. Advice abounds that offers a quick fix to any problem. “Learn the piano in 9 easy steps,” or “40 easy ways to make money quickly.” We are drawn to anything that offers us success with as little work as possible.
By contrast, the Bible warns against this philosophy. In Proverbs, one of the most dominant characters is that of the sluggard, who takes his name from the slug, a slow-moving shell-less creature, and it evokes a sense of laziness and apathy. Plug the word “sluggard” into a thesaurus and you’ll find other colourful terms like “lazybones”, “slouch” and “deadbeat”. This is not a positive image, and the book of Proverbs certainly has a lot to say about the problem with sluggards.
Proverbs 13:4, “the soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Sluggards are constantly consuming but never contributing.
Proverbs 15:19, “The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.” This highlights that the sluggard’s path actually leads to difficulty despite seeking an easy way.
Proverbs says that wise people choose the path of diligence, discipline, hard work and effort. In all our responsibilities – at work, at home, in school, NS, parenting, serving others – God calls us to bring our best energy to our responsibilities.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO
If we are to bring our best energy to our responsibilities, we need to learn to manage our energy, not only our time. This will look different for different people, but it is also important to seek God in this and not to place artificial limits. If you are introverted, you might feel this message justifies a very minimal degree of interaction with others in order to give your best energy to your responsibilities. However, God also calls us to step out of our comfort zones in serving and loving others. He equips, He sustains, He provides. If you are extroverted, you might feel emboldened by the message to increase your activities because you are energized by social settings. But are the activities you gravitate towards the things God wants for you? We need to seek His wisdom as we prioritize and reframe the responsibilities we have – recognizing that He calls us to serve others and hold work with honour and dignity.
Walking with God on the path of wisdom will not transform us overnight. We can take “next step” goals to train ourselves to bring our best energy to the responsibilities He has placed before us. What “next step” will you take today?
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. ~ Proverbs 31:27