In the beginning of the story we learned that the Lord created us to work – “This is the history of the heavens and the earth… For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground… And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed… Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:4-15).
Solomon knows the value of hard work, and he warns against being lazy in today’s proverbs:
- “The lazy man will not plow because of winter, he will beg during harvest and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4)
- “Do not love sleep lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13)
- “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end” (Proverbs 20:21)
- “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to property” (Proverbs 21:5)
- “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man” (Proverbs 21:17)
- “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare” (Proverbs 21:25-26)
- “The lazy man says ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!’” (Proverbs 22:13)
Later, Paul will also exhort the Christians to work hard – “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). And when Jesus is sending out the seventy-two to share the Good News, He will say to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’” (Luke 10:2).
When we get to the Missions and Church Eras in our reading, Paul and Jesus teach us to go and do the work of the Lord. So if you are alive and following Christ, this is your work. We are currently living in the Missions and Church Era, and the same charge that Jesus gave his disciples applies to all Christ followers – “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The writer of Hebrews encourages us not to get discouraged from doing good works. Although we may never receive the applause or acceptance of man, the Lord sees all of our labor for Him, and He will never ignore, dismiss, or forget it! “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:10-12).
Therefore, do not let discouragement stop you. Each day pray, seek the Lord, and – “Press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14).
One more day of Proverbs and then the book Song of Solomon. Keep reading! (Proverbs 20:1-22:16)