We just finished a series in Church titled: Thank God It’s Monday. The series is about work and the title is based on the popular saying: “Thank God It’s Friday”.
We usually say “Thank God It’s Friday” because we know that for most people that’s the last day of work. We thank God it’s Friday because we can look forward to a weekend of relaxation, rest and enjoyment. 😀 Who doesn’t want that right? 🙂 The sad news sometimes is this: The reason we look forward into the weekend so much is because we don’t enjoy our work.
Apparently a lot of people see work as a curse or a toil rather than a privilege from God. That’s why they’re not that too excited when Monday comes. We did this series because we hope that people will understand that work is a blessing from God and can be enjoyed by reflecting on His character and nature.
The truth is, work is from God. We are designed to work for his glory and purpose, that should really be our ultimate goal.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
If we get that right, I believe with all my heart that our behaviours and attitude towards work will change dramatically. Remember to always have this in focus… Then everything else will follow.
Having said that, yesterday’s preaching reminded me of a blog I wrote more than three years ago. This blog is about my top 5 learnings from the book of Proverbs about work. This accounts 5 great advices that I read from that book which I know will help me get better at my craft. So without further ado. Here it is:
WISDOM FOR THE MAN WHO WORKS – April 19, 2012
Work is an integral part of our society. We see people working all around us. In our homes, our schools, the church etc. The work that people do, produces a lot of positive results and outcomes. Whether that be our cellphone, our iPads, our shoes, our clothes, the food that we eat, the streets where we walk or the roads where we drive. All these things are a product of the combined work effort of people in society. In life, work is part of our everyday assignment. We are created to work. In fact in Genesis 2:15 it says there that:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden TO WORK IT AND TAKE CARE OF IT.
Even in the original story, God created man not only to have fellowship with him but for him to work. When God created us he already had it in his mind to give us certain responsibilities and duties in this life.
We are all intended to do work, no one can escape this responsibility. So why not embrace it? 🙂 For the past month, I’ve been doing my quiet time from the book of Proverbs. As I’ve read the book, there are 5 principles and truths that struck me that I know can definitely help me with my work habits. Here are the five things, five wisdom and truths that will help the MAN WHO WORKS:
Diligence sounds like a very nice word. When I hear the word diligence, these things come to my mind: Industriousness, Hard Work, Perseverance etc. That’s a picture of people who really excel in their work. However, this is easier said than done. As nice as diligence sounds, our nature as human beings is to be lazy, slack around and choose enjoyment over hard work. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with enjoyment it’s just that, sometimes it’s easier to browse Facebook & Twitter, watch sports, play games than to focus on doing the more important things: our devotions, our relationship with other people and our work. Again, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying things in life however it should be put in it’s proper place. Enjoyment can sometimes be a hindrance (although we’re not aware of it at times) to prioritizing what’s important. (P.S. All the things I mentioned I am guilty of!) 🙂
The book of Proverbs says there are many benefits to being diligent:
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.
The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.
The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.
What’s the difference between Diligence and Prudence? Prudence, is not a very familiar word for most people. As I googled the word “Prudence” a lot of definitions came up so I just decided to base it on what Proverbs associates it to. Prudence means this:
Giving thought to one’s ways
Why is this important? I believe that this is important because prudence has something to do with the mind. While diligence talks about hard work, prudence deals with carefully thinking about our plans and actions. That’s why the world’s top managers, team leaders, etc. aren’t just those who work hard (diligence) but those who carefully think about whatever decision they need to make. In our work, this is important, to give thought to our ways as well as being diligent. Those two should always go hand in hand.
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
3) Trusting in one’s ways
This next that I’m going to talk about, most of us know this to be true even though we have a hard time admitting it to ourselves. It’s about TRUSTING in our own ways and wisdom. I think the reason why we may not agree on these truths is because of our pride. We think we always have the best ideas, we think our solutions are always the right answer. Proverbs says that “There is a way that seems right to man (us)”, the operative word there is “seems” “but in the end it leads to death”. I always have to remind myself of this truth because I know that left on my own I will always trust and go with my instincts. If we are just honest with ourselves we know that historically speaking, our ideas and solutions weren’t always the best.
He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
This learning actually leads to the next point.
4) Planning and Seeking advice
If you have something that you want to accomplish. If you have a God-given dream or vision that he has really birthed in your heart to accomplish. If you’re so convinced to do something and would want to do anything to achieve victory then Proverbs is consistent in it’s admonition to everyone of us: Seek Advice. Andy Stanley said that it is not a coincidence that the wisest king in the Bible wrote more about seeking advice and counsel more than any other person in the Bible. That’s the secret to his wisdom and we can have that type of wisdom as well if we seek advice. There are times wherein I have questions that I have a difficult time comprehending but because I seek advice and get counsel from someone who’s an expert then Boom! clarity instantly comes because of that person’s advice. Admittedly I don’t do this as often. I know that I have to change and always ask people for advice if I want to grow wiser. So seek advice as much as you can! The sooner the better. 🙂
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.
5) Wisdom > Wealth and Riches
Managing our finances is one of the biggest challenge we’ll ever face in this life. Thus, a lot of people, because they get so worried and concerned about money try to chase after it. People think that as long as we have tons and tons of money then we’ll be ok.
After reading the book of Proverbs, I realized that having wisdom is more beneficial than having wealth. A person can store up money for himself but the book of proverbs exhorts that acquiring and gaining wisdom is way way better than that. Why is that so? I believe for the simple reason that when you have wisdom, generating wealth is an easy task. You see great minds like Steve Jobs who lost his position in Apple in his earlier years only to be able to start his own company regain his position there. Why? Because of wisdom. You may have a lot of money, but I would go for wisdom any day of the week. The book of Proverbs says that it is more valuable, profitable and better. So choose gaining wisdom over riches anytime! 🙂
How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
So that’s my top 5 most important learnings from the book of proverbs that concerns work. Hope this helps inspire you be more efficient and effective at work. God bless you and Thank God It’s Monday! 🙂