Category Archives: Work

An Honest Salesman?

Proverbs 12:5

“The thoughts of the righteous [are] right: [but] the counsels of the wicked [are] deceit.”

It is not often that I choose to quote another author, but I found the following words instructive.

The plans of the righteous are right.” His designs are well-intentioned and morally sound because the mind of the righteous man is disciplined by wisdom. On the other hand, “the counsels of the wicked are deceit.” Their warped minds invent crooked methods for reaching their goals. To them the end always justifies the means.”*

The Ends

Do you ever stop to think about the “ends?” In other words, do you ever stop to think about the results of your actions, or your thoughts? Do you plan ahead? Do you think about consequences?

The “thoughts of the righteous are right” because the righteous have right hearts. And because of their righteous thoughts, the means to an end matter just as much as the result. They want to do what is right, because it is right.

On the other hand, the wicked think only of self-gratifying goals. As the above quote says, “To them the end always justifies the means.” Because of an unwise, wicked heart, what is right does not matter, only the desired result.

The Means

I have known many salesmen over the years. As a matter of fact, I was actually a pretty successful salesman at one time. But if there was anything that characterized the average salesman, it was the desire to make a sale, to “close the deal,” even if his “counsel” was a little deceitful.

The problem with many salespeople is that they will tell you whatever you want to hear, even things you don’t, in order to sell a product or service. What the customer needs or can afford is rarely a consideration when sales bonuses and large paychecks are at stake. As long as a dollar can be made, it is thought “the end justifies the means.”

So how do you know when you have met a “righteous” salesman? You will know him when he won’t sell you something, even when you think you want it. Happily, I can say that there were times I did just that, even when the rent was due. Taking advantage of customer was wrong, and even though I might have needed the money, the end didn’t justify the means.

Believe it or not, there are some honest salespeople out there. However, there are also a lot of deceitful customers, too. Just saying.

A Prayer

Dear Lord, give us a righteous heart that thinks right things. Keep us from wicked and deceitful thoughts. Give us a heart for others over the needs of self. Reprove us, Jesus, when we are tempted to deceive, for what waits in the end is anything but gain.

 


*James E. Smith, The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1996), Pr 12:2–7.

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Proverbs 3:7-8

“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

An advertisement on the side of my web browser promises that if I “click here” I can learn a “weird old trick” to eliminate stubborn belly fat. Each weekday afternoon, Dr. Oz hosts a show advocating the addition of blueberries, seaweed and other “super foods” to fight off cancer and heart disease. A billboard overlooking I-24 in my city displays a lean and tightly-muscled torso, suggesting that a few quick visits to the fitness center are all it takes to achieve such enviable results.

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS!

The achievement of health: Everybody’s looking for a shortcut! And yet, we know that it is the slow, plodding discipline of a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and the elimination of detrimental bad habits (smoking comes to mind) which yield the healthiest bodies over the long haul.

The achievement of wise living is no different! There are no shortcuts (“Be not wise in your own eyes”). Rather, wise living is the fruit of good old basic faith (“fear the LORD”) and repentance (“turn away from evil”). This, says the wise father to the son (3:1) is the only sure path to spiritual health (3:8).

NEED HEALING?

By the way, these verses suggest that by following the way of wisdom, it is in fact possible to extricate yourself from a situation of moral and spiritual “disease”, and gain spiritual health in Christ. Those who are spiritually sick can find healing and refreshment, or as some translations put it, nourishment. One thinks of Subway’s marketing front man “Jarrod”, who lost a couple of hundred pounds simply by “eating fresh”. Praise the Lord, it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17).


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 2

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. –Isaiah 64:6, KJV

Even our good works are tainted by sin, making it so that there is never enough good works we can do to tip the scales to outweigh our sins and earn forgiveness from God.

As we continue our journey through Advent, we remember the longing for a Savior that the Prophets sought and preached.

We may volunteer our time at the holidays, donate clothes, food, and toys to those in need, or even welcome strangers into our home. But it takes the perfect love of God moving through us to have any true impact.

See your need for a Savior, the One who gave up all power, glory, majesty, and honor to live a simple, faithful life to sacrifice His body for our benefit.

Gracious Lord, You see our sinful natures and every motive of our hearts. Help us to see Your forgiveness through Your great sacrifice, and change us and clean us to do good works in Your name.


Has Grace Got You?

In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice. –Proverbs 29:6, KJV

When we get in trouble for doing something we should not have been doing, we sure do feel bad.

When we get away with something wrong, we are relieved, but the snare of guilt refuses to let us relax completely.

When we are forgiven, golly gee, are we happy!

It is just like MercyMe’s song, Grace Got You.

It combines these last two points and explains them very poetically, and it is how Christians should feel!

Sing,
So the back row hears you.
Glide,
‘Cause walking just won’t do.
Dance,
You don’t have to know how to,
Ever since, ever since grace got you.

Laugh,
‘Till your whole side’s hurting.
Smile,
Like you just got away with something,
Why?
‘Cause you just got away with something,
Ever since, ever since grace got you.

We essentially get away with all of the times we rubbed our sin in God’s face, all because He sent His Son to die on a cross in our place of punishment.

The question then becomes, how do we respond when others wrong us?

Just as God forgave us, we ought to forgive others. This is one of the greatest works we can do in Christ’s name. The hope is that they will see this (and other good works) and turn to Christ.

Then, we can all sing together the praise of the One who created and forgives us, rejoicing in His grace and love.

May we sing God’s praises continually. (Colossians 3:16-17, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18)


Church is not about you.

Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house. –Proverbs 24:27, KJV

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. –Proverbs 24:27, ESV

Are you a member of your church?

Do you even attend a church?

If you do not have a legitimate physical reason for not going, why? (Disabilities or a work schedule can be good reasons.)

Not liking the decorations or the music are not good reasons (unless, maybe, because the music is theologically horrible! That usually happens in churches teaching the same fluff.)

If you claim that you are not being fed, there is good reason to believe that – sorry to be the bearer of bad news – you are the problem.

If you find yourself saying things like “The message just doesn’t resonate with me” (unless it is for the reason mentioned earlier) or “I have not found something to plug in to,” this is not good enough.

Perhaps the issue is that you keep looking for all of your needs to be met. That is not the purpose of Church.

Church is not all about you.

Maybe you need to start meeting the needs of others, start a Bible study (and, based on your approach thus far, ask a pastor, elder, or someone who is spiritually mature to help), or start asking your pastor questions about the lessons and messages.

If you refuse to actively work the ground of your faith, you may never “feel it” in any church – at least not for long. The most surefire way to “feel it” is to build up the church, to make those around you better by pointing them to Christ.

Then you will find that you have also been building up your house for worship.

Church is not about you. It is about letting Christ use you for His Church, to work the field of souls and build up His Temple of saints.


Your Name Is More Valuable

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Sales

I have had more than a few years of experience in the area of sales. I have, over the years, sold everything from credit card services to funeral pre-arrangements. Right now I sell for Aflac (the company with the Duck), and I hope to have a long relationship.

However, there have been times when I’ve been instructed by sales managers to do whatever it takes to close the deal. At one point one crook of a sales manager (I quit after this) told me, “After all, those people are not your friends.” I said, “Everyone is a potential friend.”

Sales can be a tough way to make a living – it’s actually hard on me right now – but some things are far more valuable than money.

Your Reputation

Some may think this is just a thing I say to gain trust, but it’s the honest-to-God truth. I tell people they can trust me because I have a reputation to protect.

Even though I could make a sale and make some money, what good would it do, in the long run, if word got out that I was untrustworthy? How would that affect my ministry? How would that affect my ability to lead a church, or share the gospel?

Oh, you don’t know how much I would love to open a few new accounts and pay my bills! I don’t want “great riches,” only enough to pay for necessities and a little more, plus enough to lay aside for later. “Tiny riches” would be fine with me!

But all the riches in the world are not worth ruining one’s name, especially when one’s name is associated with the Name above all names, Jesus Christ.

I’d rather have a good name that brings honor to His name than all the gold in the world.


In the Pit of Your Stomach

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord , searching all the inward parts of the belly. -Proverbs 20:27, KJV

In Matthew 5, Jesus said we Christians are the light of the world who should let that light shine by doing good works that bring others to the Lord.

Now, many people attempt to do good works without bothering to include God, both Christians and non-Christians.

Isaiah was the one who reminded us that our works done apart from God are … *ahem* … dirty rags. (64:6. Ask your pastor if you do not know the full meaning of “dirty rags”.)

What does all of this have to do with Proverbs 20:27?

The light within us is God, the one who sustains our lives, even when we are living apart from His ways. In both Jeremiah (31:33) and Hebrews we are told that in these last days God has written His Law on our minds and hearts.

One way of looking at this is that He has seared our conscience with what is right. We “instinctively know” what is right and wrong.

Yet, when we do not live in accordance with His Spirit, even our best intentions are tainted by our selfish, sinful desires and actions.

It is when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is not right. So, when God searches our “inward parts of the belly” (i.e. our hearts), He can see our selfish, sinful leanings.

But He also regenerates our hearts and minds by His Spirit to do truly good, God-honoring and glorifying works.


Spoon-fed

study 2Dad is a retired engineer, a graduate of Purdue University, a true Boilermaker is ever there was one.  He was the first of his family to go to college, not a small accomplishment having been born at the start of the Great Depression.  After his stint in the Navy, and a bit of disgruntlement with the union’s treatment of his hard work ethic, he decided to go back to school.  So here was a seasoned vet in his early twenties heading off to classes with fresh-faced high school graduates in a post-Korea university setting.

The stories are hilarious, and quite enlightening. Continue reading


Appreciate What You Have

The following are three different translations of the same verse:

The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious. – Proverbs 12:27 KJV

A lazy hunter doesn’t roast his game, but to a diligent person, his wealth is precious. – Proverbs 12:27 CSB

Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find. – Proverbs 12:27 NLT

However you look at it, according to this verse there are two types of people in this world: those who don’t care about what they have and those who do.

The slothful or lazy hunter – lazy people in general – are so often the most blessed people in the world. I mean, seriously, isn’t it the case where so often they have more than they need, more than enough to make something of themselves, yet let it all rot?

People today are so far removed from those of “the greatest generation” that they have no idea how good they actually have it. The poorest people in America are richer than many of the wealthy in other countries, and what they can waste on a daily basis is proof positive.

But to the diligent person…the person who works hard…the person who doesn’t expect a handout, but understands the value of persistence…the one who knows that tomorrow’s hunt might not go as well…the one who is grateful for what he has…what he has is precious, because he appreciates what it took to possess it.

Remember that “the LORD your God gives you the power to gain wealth” (Deut. 8:18), and whatever you collect in the hunting trip of life is ultimately a reflection of the mercy of God. Don’t take it for granted, and for heaven’s sake don’t waste it.


All About Integrity

Proverbs chapter eleven is all about integrity.

What does inegrity entail?

Honesty

Telling the truth and doing what’s right is important. Honesty is life-affirming, acknowledging the image of God in others, and, honestly, keeping life simple. It is easier to keep your story straight when you tell the truth and do what’s right.

Responsibility

Doing what’s right, doing what one ought, is also life-affirming. Sin is most often associated with what we did wrong, but it includes what we don’t do that we should. If we did what was needed when it should be done (right away or when time allows), life would be easier. Owning mistakes is included, as growth comes more quickly. It is irresponsible to shift the blame or hope “someone else will do it.” It is better to do what is right, even if someone else could or should do it.

Generosity

Giving to others or taking up the burden of another demonstrates generosity. And – you probably guessed it – it is life affirming. It shows love to others. It tells others “You are worth it.” It clears up problems before they even exist or before they are out of control.

Living with Integrity

If you want to live with integrity, live out the concepts of Proverbs. Take five minutes and read the entire chapter and see how integrated and interrelated all of these concepts are.

They represent God’s character, and living with integrity makes your character more like His.

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)