Proverbs 8:17-18 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
Beginning in chapter 8 of Proverbs Wisdom steps out of the background and takes center stage. She (and wisdom is referred to in the feminine) speaks directly in the first person. She calmly stands before the microphone, looks out at the audience and speaks to those who will listen.
Many in the audience are distracted and many are asleep. Wisdom is not a dynamic speaker. She doesn’t pound the lectern or pace up and down on the platform. Her voice is clear, earnest and the power is in the message.
She promises honor and riches, enduring wealth and prosperity. She is not your run-of-the-mill get rich quick proponent. She delivers. What’s the catch you ask?
You must seek her. You must love her. Don’t approach a day without asking the Lord for wisdom. Don’t make decisions without her input. Lay your plans out before her and ask her to guide your thoughts and steps.
If you love her she will love you back. This is how it has happened for me. I have decided on a course of action. But then I remember I didn’t ask for wisdom. So I apologize for inviting her in late to the process and I ask for wisdom. Now the prior course of action, which seemed so clear an hour ago, is not looking so good. Another alternative is in my mind – the more I think of the alternative the more I like it.
What has happened? Wisdom has spoken. You sought her and she keeps her promises.
Action Step – love wisdom, seek wisdom, follow her advice.
Proverbs 11:24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but come to poverty.
“A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Good advice Ben, but today we meet “Giver”, who gives his pennies away and has all the more because of it.
We once again come across the Law of the Harvest – You give, you plant, you sow and you will later reap. It is a life of faith. The Giver is a person of faith. He understands how the Law of the Harvest works. He observes a farmer who sows his seed generously reaps abundantly. He has seen men and women give freely of their wealth only to see it return to them with greater measure.
The Miser wants to be wealthy. He cuts corners, unfairly withholds payment due others and would never send a nickel to charity. Don’t expect a tip from this fellow if you wait on his table.
He becomes poor. How? Where is all the money he has saved? Well, perhaps his cheating business habits have landed him in court. Maybe thieves got wind of his stash and relieved him of it. Maybe the IRS nailed him for underpaying his taxes.
Action Step – Give, give, and give! Bless someone today. Give to that person on the end of the freeway ramp. Stuff a few bucks into the tip jar at Subway. For seeds to produce, they have to be sown.
“The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” ~ Proverbs 11:1
This Proverb is directed at those in business and commerce but it’s broader application condemns cheating and taking unfair advantage of every form.
Scales were used in commerce whether in purchasing flour, spices or precious metals. It would be an easy thing for a merchant to rig them in his favor. Who would check? Especially if those he was dealing with were in a weaker position economically then he was.
This is not limited to ancient times. Sharp-eyed shoppers early in the 20th century were on guard against the butcher with his “thumb on the scale” or others ready to take advantage of them.
Today cheating is much more sophisticated. Fake vitamins, drugs that don’t work, deceptive packaging, outrageous bank fees and the list goes on and on. We develop government agencies to help protect us against these rip-offs, as we should.
But the ultimate punishment is that these businesses and those who run them are “abhorred by the Lord”. Eventually they are found out and either go bankrupt, get caught, or get passed over by more honest competitors.
Action step – don’t cheat. On exams, taxes or in business in any way, shape or form. “the Lord delights in honest weights”. Delight the Lord in the integrity you bring to your business and life.
Proverbs 13:4 The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Solomon observes two individuals, the sluggard and the diligent. They both have something in common. They both have desires, goals, wants and dreams.
One realizes his goals and dreams but the other does not.
A popular teaching called the Law of Attraction states that if you really want something bad enough and really think hard enough your thoughts will impact the Universe in such a way that the Universe will provide you with the object of your thoughts.
One of the early advocates of this was a teacher by name of Wallace Wattles in his book the Science of Getting Rich. Napolean Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is another hugely popular book with the same philosophy.
But does the law of attraction really work?
It does not appear to work for “Slug”. He really wants these things, in fact, he has an intense desire, he craves. He’s thinking about it. End result? He gets nothing.
However, at the same time here is another person with his desires fully satisfied. The difference is diligence. While the “Slug” is home craving “Dil” is out working.
As Steve Jobs says – “real artists ship”. In other words hard work produces output which produces results, which leads to success.
Do you want to reach your goals and achieve your dreams? Thoughts alone won’t cut it. Positive thinking must lead to positive action. Plans and goals must be backed up by work to satisfy the desires of your heart.
Proverbs 24: 30-34 Is Your House Talking?
“I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”
You would not have guessed it by looking at him. You could not have picked it up in a job interview or on an application for employment. But if you passed by his place his home would be talking.
“Look at the weeds, look at the thorns, look at my wall! My owner is so lazy”
Is your place talking? Mine is. I’m missing some shingles on my roof and my vinyl siding on the north side of the house is in need of cleaning. A tree has lost some limbs and needs to be taken down. That’s just the outside of the house.
Our house, our furnishings, our car and our clothing all speak of who we are. The principle of “good stewardship” is found throughout the Bible. Caring, maintaining, improving, and diligently investing into our possessions and our families is the responsibility of every citizen of God.
These verses were a wake-up call to me and I have much to improve on. But now spring is here and the days are longer. Since starting this post a month ago I have had the shingles replaced, cleaned the siding and added fresh mulch around my bushes. The tree that needs to come down is a bigger job, but is in the planning stages.
Getting stuff done feels good. Especially when it’s out front where everyone can notice. Talk away old house!
Proverbs 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
A friend confided with me that his brother had been out of work for three years and what a difficult time the family was going through. He listed the types of work his brother could not do because they did not bring in enough income such as fast food, restaurant, service work etc.
What do you think? Is it better sitting at home waiting for opportunity to knock? Or go out and work at anything in order to be productive? Personally I would go out of my mind sitting at home unemployed.
Financial advisor Dave Ramsey has urged thousands of unemployed and underemployed to go out and deliver pizzas. Why? Because “all hard work brings a profit.”
You feel good about yourself when you are working! And if you are working hard others notice. When others notice this leads to bigger and better opportunities. Bigger opportunities lead to bigger paychecks.
Any Employment Counselor will tell you it is easier to find a job when you already have a job. Your attitude, expression, confidence and self esteem are projected through your voice, eye contact and handshake.
I have always chosen menial work over holding out for something ideal, and I have have no regrets.
“His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate’er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man.” ~ The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow