This week's Bible Study - July 31, 2016
Earn Money Productively
Quotes of the Week:
Never spend your money before you have earned it.
Have you ever thought about why we need money? Can you imagine how different life would be if there was no need for money. I suppose for those who subscribe to a life of commune living, where everyone does their own work, but everything is provided the same for everybody must appeal to some people. However, as societies have tried that, there have been many issues that have arisen.
Given that we need money today, what does it take to make money? For many people, the first question that they ask others is 'What do you do?" In other words, it could be said "Given that money is needed, how do you get yours?" That may not be the question that comes to mind, but is the reason why the original question is asked. There are myriads of ways that people make money. Most people go about the right way, trying to identify some set of skills that they can do and make a living.
There are some people that put more work into not working, so that they can get others to provide for their needs, which can be a problem. Certainly, there are those that can't work and there is no problem for others to help meet their needs. It does get somewhat old, though, when a person depends on others, when they could find a job, but use the excuse that there isn't any work that appeals to them. There are many people who find any job to help make ends meet, even if it isn't what they want to do.
Then, I guess we also need to include that there are some people that would rather steal from others to get by. I honestly can't relate to that, but who knows what any of us would do if we couldn't meet our needs. It is almost as if you can understand some of that, but there are those who seem to make a life of crime their own 'work'. Hopefully you don't fall into that category.
Does it really matter how we make money? Certainly it does to some point. We aren't necessarily called to a specific type of job or career, although some people are certainly more gifted towards certain lines of work. The CEO, the public relations people, the accountant, the engineer, the musician, the construction worker and so forth all require different types of backgrounds and personalities. God has gifted each of us in different ways and when we can find a way to use that gift in our careers, it can be helpful. We are gifted to give glory to God, and when a person invests in their job, and impacts those around them, it can be one of the best ways to reach others.
Some who read this may be still in school. Some are just starting their careers. Some have gone from job to job for years, and others have been with the same company for 30 or more years. Some have past the age of working (for pay) and are in retirement. What about you? How do you make your money and should anything about that change?
Isn't it amazing what we can learn from nature? Solomon brings up the ant in these verses. Have you ever had a problem with ants? Many people, especially in the spring, begin having lots of problems with ants. It is as if they end out spies to find new treasures, and once they find them, there is a full army of ants that will appear and seem to be rather organized. If this is in your home, you are most likely to go to Home Depot or Lowes or somewhere to find out how to destroy them.
Isn't it amazing that you hardly ever see the ants do anything but work? One of my favorite comedians, uses animals in his comedy often. He has a bit about ants building a sandpile and having it crushed by a human. Undaunted, they get back to work, or at least most of them. Click here to get a sample of Brian Regan's comedy about animals, including birds, ants and dogs.
In these verses, Solomon is speaking to the sluggard, the one who doesn't want to do anything. I looked up the definition and it was defined as a lazy, sluggish person. Synonyms included ne'er-do-well, layabout, do-nothing idler, loafer, lounger, good-for-nothing and so forth. In Proverbs 26:14, the sluggard is described as attached to his bed like a door swinging on its hinges. I believe you get the picture and perhaps you might think of someone who might be described that way. While a door on its hinges may serve a useful purpose, it isn't going anywhere.
The sluggard is asked to consider the ways of the ant and to be wise. The ant has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Isn't it amazing to see the innate abilities of animals that seem to know what to do without any training? As far as I know, there has been no ant school found that was training the ants what to do. They just know what to do and do it. The ant stays busy, not only taking care of current needs, but also preparing for the future.
After consideration of the ant Solomon speaks to sluggard and asks how long will you lie there? When will you get up from your sleep? He continues to say "A little sleep, a little slumber a little folding of the hands to rest - and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man."
When you are working a lot, it is good to take a rest. Our bodies need the rest to perform to peak abilities. Often, workaholics will continue to work and over time, the return on that investment can begin to decrease. I one worked in a place that mandated 60 hour weeks for everyone, for 10 weeks in a row. Even if you were on schedule with your job, everyone had to pay for those who lagged behind. It was easy to see that more mistakes were made as people worked longer and longer, without adequate rest. We need our rest. With my own diagnosis, I can tell that there are a few things that make my symptoms worse. One is stress, and I have had to make changes to reduce stress in my life. You can't control stress completely, but it is important to minimize it (at least for me). The other thing that has a more direct impact is how rested I am. I used to be able to stay up later and get by with less sleep, but that takes a huge toll on me anymore. Even simple things like getting dressed are much more difficult for me when I am tired. It is important for each of us to be rested.
However, we need to be careful so that we do not accept a life of leisure. Have you ever noticed that if you took a few days off of doing the things you normally have to do, things get out of control quickly? In the Spring, if you mow your yard only when you feel like it or every eight weeks or so, you will have a problem. We have had a lot of help at our house since I can't get around very good, and Berkley has had to devote more of her time helping me. We had many friends come and pull weeds and help with the landscaping. However, that tends to be a task that needs to happen often, as the weeds take any opportunity to shoot back up if nobody is watching. Once they appear and are not accounted for, they thrive.
It is one thing to thing about our yards and how it can get out of control. However, when we think about someone who just wants to sit on the sidelines and not get back to work, it can become a lifestyle very quickly. For some people, it isn't a problem of lying in bed and resting, but more of a problem of being at work and not working. That can lead to many problems, including the loss of a job. We need to learn to be productive when we need to be productive, and learn how to rest when we need to rest.
There is nothing that is earth shattering in this passage. At least not for most of us. Perhaps there is someone who needs to come to the realization that they need to get back to work. There are plenty of jobs available. Some of them may not be what is desired, but getting to work in any capacity is better than sitting, waiting for someone to take care of you.
Perhaps you have a job and you do stay pretty busy. Your problem is not like the sluggard's, but more like the person that can't stop working. Certainly, there are deadlines from time to time, but if you are always under a deadline, perhaps you need to plan more realistically.
From a spiritual aspect, some people view their work as a separate thing from anything related to God.
Perhaps you aren't working in a sanctioned ministry, but I believe that we are called to do everything to
bring glory to God. When we used to do our Bible Study at Boeing, we had this as our theme verse, Colossians 3:23-24,
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.