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Wisdom Regarding Work

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INTRODUCTION

1. The responsibilities of being a Christian are many, one of which is providing a proper example.

a. We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth

Matthew 5:13–16 KJV 1900
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

b. This requires outstanding and honorable conduct on our part

1 Peter 2:12 KJV 1900
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

c. This is especially true as we go about the business of making a living

2 Thessalonians 3:11–12 KJV 1900
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

2. But how can we be sure that we behave properly toward outsiders in our business affairs?

a. We've seen that Proverbs has much wisdom to offer in regards to friends and family

b. It also has much to say regarding every day work and business!

[As one who was employed in secular work before devoting my full energies to preaching the gospel, I found Proverbs to be especially helpful in this area. For example, from Proverbs I learned...]

I. TO KEEP WORK IN ITS PROPER PLACE

A. REMEMBER WHAT SHOULD TAKE PRIORITY.

1. It is a fact of life that we must work to live and provide for our families

a. If we aren't willing to work, the church is under no obligation to help us

2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV 1900
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

b. If we don't provide for our families, we are worse than unbelievers

1 Timothy 5:8 KJV 1900
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

2. But misplaced priorities can be very harmful to our well-being!

a. Righteousness, not riches, is what is truly profitable

Proverbs 11:4 KJV 1900
Riches profit not in the day of wrath: But righteousness delivereth from death.

b. One should therefore seek to be righteous, not rich

Proverbs 11:28 KJV 1900
He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: But the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

3. It is better to have a little with righteousness, than to be rich and wicked

Proverbs 16:8 KJV 1900
Better is a little with righteousness Than great revenues without right.

B. INVOLVE GOD IN OUR BUSINESS AFFAIRS.

1. For then our efforts are more likely to succeed

Proverbs 16:3 KJV 1900
Commit thy works unto the Lord, And thy thoughts shall be established.
(cf. how the Lord blessed Joseph
Genesis 39:2–5 KJV 1900
And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

2. We are more likely to be able to enjoy what we receive -

Proverbs 10:22 KJV 1900
The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, And he addeth no sorrow with it.
Ecclesiastes 5:18–6:2 KJV 1900
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.

C. REMEMBER THAT BUSINESS HAS A MAJOR SHORTCOMING.

1. We never know what might happen tomorrow

Proverbs 27:1 KJV 1900
Boast not thyself of to morrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
James 4:13–16 KJV 1900
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

2. Wealth is a fleeting commodity not worth killing yourself in order to obtain

Proverbs 23:4–5 KJV 1900
Labour not to be rich: Cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
[Many people come to learn these truths only after a lifetime, when they realize they wasted their years on things not truly important, but the value of Proverbs is that even the young can know them early and apply them to their lives! From Proverbs I also learned...]

II. TO BE SUCCESSFUL LABORER

A. WHAT "NOT" TO DO...

1. Be lazy, for it will greatly irritate your boss!

Proverbs 10:26 KJV 1900
As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, So is the sluggard to them that send him.

2. Be slothful in your work, for it will ruin your company as quick as a competing company (and how long will your job last if your company can't compete?)

Proverbs 18:9 KJV 1900
He also that is slothful in his work Is brother to him that is a great waster.

B. WHAT ONE "SHOULD" DO.

1. Develop skill in your work (it will not go unnoticed)

Proverbs 22:29 KJV 1900
Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; He shall not stand before mean men.

2. Be diligent in your work to ensure your promotion

Proverbs 12:24 KJV 1900
The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: But the slothful shall be under tribute.

3. Impress people with the quality of your work, not the quantity of your words

Proverbs 14:23 KJV 1900
In all labour there is profit: But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
[In today's competitive job market, among the best "skills" one can have are such things as "diligence" and "honesty". The wisdom from Proverbs can help one become a valuable commodity! Proverbs also provide wisdom on how...]

III. TO BE A SUCCESSFUL MANAGER

A. BE A WISE MANAGER...

1. Be diligent in your planning, and not too hasty in getting things done

Proverbs 21:5 KJV 1900
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; But of every one that is hasty only to want.

2. Nurture and utilize counsel from others

Proverbs 15:22 KJV 1900
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: But in the multitude of counsellers they are established.

3. Stay on top of your job!

Proverbs 27:23–27 KJV 1900
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, And look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: And doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, And herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, And the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, For the food of thy household, And for the maintenance for thy maidens.

B. BE A GOOD LEADER...

1. Don't be oppressive

Proverbs 28:16 KJV 1900
The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: But he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

2. Be concerned for the rights of your employees

Proverbs 29:7 KJV 1900
The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: But the wicked regardeth not to know it.

3. Provide good treatment, and you will gain loyalty and love

Proverbs 29:21 KJV 1900
He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child Shall have him become his son at the length.

4. Help the employee see how his work benefits himself as well as the company, so he will be diligent in his efforts

Proverbs 16:26 KJV 1900
He that laboureth laboureth for himself; For his mouth craveth it of him.

CONCLUSION

1. My experience as both a laborer and a manager gave me opportunity to test the wisdom found in Proverbs...

2. I found that if one...

a. Keeps the need to work in proper perspective

b. Applies the principles found in Proverbs and other Scriptures

3. That in His providence God...

a. Not only provides you with the necessities of life

b. But more often than not a good degree of material abundance! The important thing to keep in mind is that throughout our business dealings, we must always heed the words of Jesus:

Matthew 6:33 KJV 1900
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
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