Tag Archives: Work

It Takes Diligent Work to Thrive

This is the real world, and I’m going to share a little slice of mine with you.

Right now, as I am writing this, I have a list of business names and phone numbers to call. The purpose of this is to make sure the business is still in existence and to make sure of the current address and name of the owner.  The business that I am now doing requires that I “qualify” businesses before I try to contact them to discuss employee benefits.

In case you didn’t know, I now work with a great company named Aflac. You may know them by the duck.

But, so you don’t get the wrong idea, even though I am an agent with a Fortune 500 company, I’m still an individual business owner – I have to do all the work to survive.

The insurance business is not easy, but it can be very rewarding. The only thing is that one has to always be prospecting for new business, and in my case, I’m always looking for businesses in need of what we offer and are willing to talk about it. Consistent, diligent, measurable and trackable activity is critical to my success.

If I am not diligent in all I do, I can talk about my future in this business all I want, but I’ll have nothing in the end.

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and [hath] nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. – Proverbs 13:4

Sometimes, in order to do what we feel is important in life, we have to take risks. I chose to take the risk and return to the world of sales in order to have more flexibility in ministry. I also did it because driving a school bus has become too demoralizing, dangerous, and detrimental to my physical and mental health (I can’t risk another shoulder surgery and then have nothing to show for all the work I’ve done through the years).

In this situation, the wisdom of Proverbs is directly applicable to my life. I must be diligent.

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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)


Measure Twice …

When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth -Proverbs 8:27‭-‬29 ESV

God did not begin Creation until He had begun with wisdom.

It makes sense. Jesus, also called the Wisdom of God, gave us hints:

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Luke 14:28

God is smart. He planned and then built.

God’s Greatest Work

However, His universe building pales in comparison to His greatest work: Making us new.

We must remember that right relationship of us with Him was always His goal, a holy people who would give Him glory and love as He lavishes love on us.

… Cut Once

My dad, like Jesus and His earthly father, is a carpenter. He instilled in me the axiom “Measure twice, cut once.” That is, take time to accurately prepare so that you are not constantly fixing mistakes.

We should do the same with Jesus. The passage quoted above is a about the cost of discipleship.

Do we realize we must take up our cross (Luke 14:27)?

Do we realize we must radically change our thinking and actions, that we must tell a fallen world they are destined for destruction, and that it could cost us financially, materially, even bodily (basically Matthew 5-7 and … much of what Jesus said)?

If we do not wisely count the cost, we will be constantly re-cutting things from our lives, things that should have been done. We may even finding ourselves asking for forgiveness from God again.

Let God finish the work He started. Trust the Master Builder to cut and rebuild, and realize what it may cost you.

It cost Him Jesus.


Fearful, Bored Procrastinators

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. – Proverbs 6:6‭-‬11, KJV

There are 3 main reasons people are lazy:

1. They think they have time.

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them
Matthew 25:3, KJV

“Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” This is a common saying, and perhaps you see the danger in procrastination. Putting things off can lead to sloppy, unfinished, and/or unstarted work, which in turn leads to problems, as seen in Jesus’ parable with the five virgins who missed the coming of the Bridegroom.

2. They are afraid.

“He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.'”
Matthew 25:24‭-‬25, ESV

“I want to make sure it is done the way they want it.” Whether it is the fear of failure, not meeting expectations, or doing something wrong, this fear stops us from doing anything. However, just like the servant hiding the talent, we could miss out on rewards in this life and the next.

3. They are … bored?

Laziness casts one into a deep sleep …
Proverbs 19:15 NKJV

“There’s nothing to do,” or “I am already doing something.” This is also an excuse for not wanting to do something. Living life, especially following Christ, is hard, so it is easier to do nothing. Laziness then breeds laziness. In boredom, everything seems pointless. At least while reading a book or playing video games or watching videos you feel engaged in something.

Yet, in all cases we are guilty of not doing what we ought.

May we follow the example of the ant. It is Christlike.


Taking Care

Proverbs 31:27

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Dutifully Looking After

As we continue our look at the virtuous, godly wife, we see that she takes care of her home.

She makes sure her family is taken care of, that the chores are taken care of, that obligations are taken care of, and everything is in order.

“[She] eateth not the bread of idleness.” She does not see the mess in the living room and think, “That can wait.” Instead, she makes sure it gets picked up. She does not see the dishes in the sink and think, “I will do that after dinner.” She knows that putting something off until later generally keeps things put off until later.

I also think that all of this means that she knows when to put aside all of the work that needs to be down around the house and have some fun and share some love with her family. The cleaning and remembering to get things done keep the house in order, but she knows her family (and friends!) need attention, too.

The Loving Bride

As the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Church, we must remember to take care of our household. This is why having at least a basic understanding of church history and theology is important.

Just as we would not allow a sexual predator near our children, we do not want bad teaching about God to take hold.

Just as we would not allow our children to run out into a busy street, we do not want bad teaching about holy living leading people astray.

We cannot allow these to last long, because once they are entrenched in church culture and understanding, they are nearly impossible to get out. For evidence of this, just look at what happened within the Church in the past couple centuries to see all of the division and disagreement.

Heavenly Father, give us wisdom and endurance to care for each of our households. Help us keep our family strong and safe and Your Church strong and holy.


Fine Linen

Proverbs 31:24

“She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.”

Here, in this description of a virtuous, priceless woman, we see further proof that a woman is not limited to domestic work. Although she takes care of her household, she is industrious and business-minded. She makes a product she’s proud of and not afraid to stake her family’s reputation.

Notice here, too, that she is not only a hard worker, but she knows how to make use of her time. Instead of working for every dollar (or whatever currency she uses), she lets her money work for her. Instead of setting up a stand beside the road to sell her wares, she makes her product available to be sold by a merchant.

Personally, I believe there is a little bit of cleverness in the last part of this verse. She makes a product and sells it, but she “delivereth girdles unto the merchant.” It could be that she is just making a delivery, but it might be possible that she is greasing the skids of business. She gives the merchant something special for selling her product.

A wise woman, good in business and full of virtue, is obviously going to be one that is concerned with quality and the way others in the market are treated. By following her example, men and women alike would earn a better reputation and further the cause of the faith (see 1 Timothy 3:7).


Work-Loving Mother

Proverbs 31:10, 18

“Who can find a virtuous woman? … She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.”

Don’t Miss Out

People who refuse to work miss out on the joy of being able to step back, admire a job well done, and know that what they have done has contributed to the welfare of their household. They miss out on the satisfaction one feels when as he admires the completed work of his hands. But the “virtuous woman” can see that what she has done is good, and it brings her great pleasure.

How is it that work can be pleasurable? Well, in the case of the woman of Proverbs 31, she knows what she has to work with is good; she is confident in her ability to make a product and close a deal; and she knows that when the day is done her family will benefit. Most importantly, her heart is in the right place, which adds to her level of energy.

Have you ever met a person who loved her work? Even when other people call it a day, he or she is still at it, even until the late hours of the night. That’s probably the reason the “virtuous woman” of this chapter keeps her candle lit long after the sun goes down.

A Rare Worker

A rare woman, especially these days, is one who is creative, an entrepreneur, and loves working for profit. It is even more rare to find one who obviously has a well-respected husband – a man who already provides for her – and yet still decides to contribute financially. A common woman would sit back and rest in the comfort provided, but not this woman. No, she finds joy in work, and that’s why she keeps it up past normal working hours.

Now, some one argue that a woman who does all this is taking away from her family. They would say that a woman should not work outside the home, but should keep the house and take care of the children while the husband earns a living. But what is so great about this woman is that she is able to honor her husband, take care of the house and all its needs, and still find time to create an extra stream of income from being creative with her God-given talents and abilities. She loves to work, but still knows how to put first things first. That’s what makes her exceedingly rare.

How much better off would our societies be if we had more women – even men – like this?