Proverbs Principles

The Book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters of proverbs and sayings of the wise. But what exactly is a Proverb? A proverb is defined as a “short pithy saying, usually in current use and providing advice.”

The Proverbs in the Bible deal with timeless subjects – wisdom, understanding, wealth, work and success. They can be applied as successfully today as when they were originally written.

Proverbs

Proverbs

 

This is evident in the successful lives of men and women who down through the ages have successfully mastered the principles outlined in the Proverbs.

Probably the most notable would be Benjamin Franklin whose autobiography reads like a modern version of a man obsessed with living and sharing Proverbs.

The following is a summary of twelve Proverbs Principles you will have to master to successfully incorporate the Proverbs into your life. Master these virtues and you master life.

1. Fear of the Lord“the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 9:10 Here is the starting place and the place you finish. You will have difficulty mastering the other habits without a healthy respect and reverence for the Creator of all things.
2. Wisdom“wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom” Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom provides the ability to use the knowledge and understanding you have been given. It is one of the foundations to living a successful life.

Discipline

Running in the Rain

3. Discipline“those who disregard discipline, despise themselves”~ Proverbs 15:32 Discipline is the control developed through obeying a set of rules or guidelines. A successful life is a life under control.
4. Knowledge“the discerning heart seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 15:14 Knowledge is a valuable stepping stone to understanding and wisdom. It is no accident that college graduates out-earn highschool graduates by almost double over the course of a lifetime. But there are many ways to obtain knowledge outside of a classroom.
5. Understanding“the one who cherishes understanding will prosper” Proverbs 19:8 Knowledge becomes understanding when you begin to see the patterns and connections in the things you have learned. If knowledge is the “what” understanding is the “why.”

Older Couple

Couple

6. Fidelity “the adulteress preys on your very life”~ Proverbs 6:26 It is no accident why nearly three chapters in Proverbs are devoted to warnings to avoid sexual immorality and build a strong marriage.
7. Hard Work“All hard work brings a profit” – Proverbs 14:23 There is no “easy button” in Proverbs or in life. There are no short cuts and no “Four Hour Workweeks”.
8. Careful Speech – “gracious words promote instruction” Proverbs 16:21 It is not enough to have wisdom, understanding and knowledge – you must be able to express what you learn in an impactful way.
9. Good Health“a merry heart does good like a medicine” Proverbs 17:22 Poor health will consume your attention and you will be unable to help others. How much did you accomplish during your last toothache?
10. Generosity“the generous will themselves be blessed” – Proverbs 22:9 The successful life is a life of giving. Wealth is not to be stored up – but to be put in circulation.
11. Friendship“a real friend sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24 The wise man is surrounded by friends and associates acting as teachers, mentors and guides.

The Narrow Path

Walking the Narrow Path

12. Perseverance“Keep to the paths of the righteous” Proverbs 2:20 Sadly this was the downfall of Solomon himself. With all his wisdom and knowledge he still left the path later in life. Any runner will tell you that a great start doesn’t make up for a DNF (did not finish)

Some of these principles may come naturally to you, others may require intense effort. But the rewards are tremendous including long life, safety, riches, honor, and peace.

Are you up for the challenge?

 

Proverbs Blog – To Be a Champion, Follow a Champion!

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will work for kings, not unimportant people” Proverbs 22:29 ~(International Standard Version  2012)

Oh really?  How many people work for kings in this day and age?  Or even Presidents or national leaders?  Can you name even one?

If this verse is to be taken literally, the standard of excellence described can be attained only by the most incredible effort. You would have to be so much more than just a “good” worker.

Reaching the Top!This level of work would be limited to one in ten thousand or even one in a million. It would mean you have reached to top!

How could this be possible for us today?  Hint -there is a clue given in this verse.  The clue is in the first half of the verse.  Remember Proverbs was written by a father to a son to help inspire and show him how to reach these incredible heights of success.  The clue is in the word “see.” To “see” meant that the son was to actively “seek out” a role model in society who had this level of skill and ability and to emulate him.

Now this was all well and good in the small nation of Israel thousands of years ago but how about in modern history?  Possible? Please read the following quotation:

“my father having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently repeated a proverb of Solomon, “Seest thou a man diligent in his calling? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men,” I from thence considered industry as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encouraged me, tho’ I did not think that I should ever literally stand before kings,which, however, has since happened; for I have stood before five, and even had the honor of sitting down with one, the King of Denmark, to dinner”

Yes, thousands of years later a young man heeded this same advice and his work reached a level of diligence that he found himself literally before kings.  The young man of course was Benjamin Franklin.

This Proverb is for us today! Who can you emulate that will guide and inspire you to such great heights?  Find a mentor. Find a champion! Use Benjamin Franklin if you like. His autobiography is an amazing book and you will learn some amazing habits of productivity and success.

Proverbs Blog – Fire Your Boss

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet is stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” ~ Proverbs 6: 6-9

Warm weather has suddenly reached Central Virginia and that brings with it the annual invasion of insects – especially ants.  Don’t reach for that bug spray yet!  Let’s embrace wisdom and see what we can learn from the lowly ant.

Just think, no boss, supervisor or overseer!  Why?  Why do humans with advanced learning and intelligence require supervision and not the ant?   Follow these points and eliminate the need for someone to oversee your work.  Yes, you can fire your boss.

1. Be a Self-Starter – Be at work early and be working early.  (They are not the same thing.)    Over the years I have observed many coworkers who arrive at work early.  But many are chatting with coworkers or checking out the weekend sports score on the internet.  Know what your most important goals are for that day and tear right into them.

Cathedral

Cathedral

 

2. See the BIG Picture – be the builder who is not laying bricks, not building a wall but constructing a cathedral. As soon as the ant steps out of his nest in the spring he knows another winter will approach and begins gathering and storing food for that purpose.  I work in the insurance field. So, for example, my job is not to renew insurance policies, but to provide Peace of Mind so my customers can successfully pursue their dreams without worrying about lawsuits devastating their business.

3. Always Moving!  Keep at it.  You can sleep at night.  Tired of staring at the computer? Then shift your focus and clean out some files.  You can shift gears but keep working.  Avoid the narcotic drowsiness of the sluggard whose sleep leads to the need for more sleep.

4. Be Aware of “Harvest Times” – The ant observes the 80/20 rule.  The harvest period in the Middle East is short.  There is a wheat harvest, a barley harvest and other harvests for figs, olives, wine and livestock. But these come and go quickly.  Be aware that in most occupations  20% of your time will produce 80% of results.  Be sensitive to these times in your profession.

Okay lesson over.  Let’s really push this week!  Our Success Goal is to make someone say to you “Slow down – you’re making us all look bad”.

 

Proverbs Blog – “The Science of Getting Rich” – Biblical?

“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself”~Proverbs 11:25

Watering

Watering Flowers

I really enjoy reading self-help books.  Time Management, Organizing, Financial Literacy and similar topics are at the top of my list.  I heard of the book “The Science of Getting Rich,” by Wallace Wattles, recommended from a number of people, and decided to give it a read.  You can read it yourself for free at many websites since it’s an older book now in the public domain.

I was disappointed overall.  There are some excellent tips and ideas in the book including some good chapters on the subjects of efficiency and gratitude.  But, for the most part, this was some pretty weird stuff.

The concepts of Formless Stuff, Original Substance, Thinking Stuff, Intelligent Substance and One Living Substance were just too way out for me.  Did you know that the spaces between the visible universe are just filled with the formless stuff waiting for you to press your thoughts into it for a reward?

I felt sorry for Mr. Wattles, poor guy.  I don’t believe he was ever rich. He apparently felt the same way about thoughts and their power to bring health.  Sadly he died shortly after his book was published in very poor health at age 51.

The idea that you can think your way into riches by having an intense desire for wealth are clearly not biblical.  Proverb’s mentions, “the sluggard craves and gets nothing.”  In other words desire is not enough.

There is a path to true riches laid out in the Bible that results in God’s favor and blessing.  This wealth Jesus referred to as the Pearl of Great Price.  The path to prosperity is also laid out in the Bible.  There’s nothing magic or mysterious about it.  Good planning, hard work and being generous to others are some of the steps involved.

Seeking riches?  Skip the Science of Getting Rich and read the Book of Proverbs instead.  Seeking true riches?  Read and follow the teachings of Jesus.

 

 

Proverbs Blog – Is Goal Setting Biblical?

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit” ~ Proverbs 21:5

“She considers a field and buys it” ~ Proverbs 31:16

Today is December 29, 2012.  Are your goals for 2013 in place?

What about a Christian and goal setting anyway?  Should a Christian set goals? Or is the true believer “led by the Spirit?”

The answer is “yes” to both questions.  A Christian should set goals and should be led by the Spirit.  Set your goals but always be willing to change or modify your goals based on the Spirit’s leading.  If you read the story of Paul’s missionary journeys you quickly see that Paul always had plans on what he was going to do next but often modified or changed has plans based on the Spirit’s leading.

The Proverbs say much about diligence and success in life.  Diligence is more then just hard work.  Here we have a little glimpse into the character of the diligent.  What do the diligent do in addition to hard work that leads to success?  Diligent people make plans.

Planning is another way of describing setting goals for the future.  The Proverbs 31 woman didn’t just blindly buy the first piece of real estate she came across but “considered” the purchase.

Woman in Vineyard

The Hebrew word for “considered” is “zamam.”   It implies inspecting,  considering from every vantage point, and putting together a plan.

So how about you and 2013?   If you haven’t done so you still have time to put together a plan.

 

 

Quick now, join the ranks of the diligent, and write down three goals for every important area of your life: spiritual, social, family, relationships, financial, physical health and work.

With these in place you have taken a giant step to a happy and successful New Year!

(photo credit John Curley / photo on Flickr)

 

Doing Awesome Work!

Skillful in Business

Proverbs 22:29 – Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.

Or King James Version – Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

The Bible provides instruction on how to advance in the present world. It is skilled, diligent work that brings advancement.  Yes, God’s blessing plays an important part but not outside of intense effort.

 

Solomon observed a level of diligence and skill that lifted the worker to greater heights of responsibility. The effort and skill displayed allowed rapid advancement into the king’s service.

Today, however, the main focus is not obtaining worldly wealth.  The believer is an example to all.  A hard skillful worker is a light to his family, his community and his church.

You dislike your current level of employment?  Work your way up through the ranks.  Really push, work quickly, cheerfully, without supervision.  Don’t be a good worker, be a GREAT worker.  Put this prophecy to work in your life.