Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man (Prov 6:6-11 ESV).
Pastor Jimmy’s youth teaching on Saturday was from Proverbs and was on the topic of work. The three points were: 1. Work hard; 2. Work honestly; 3. Work to honor God. And his reflection/discussion question were: “which of these areas are your strength and which needs work? And what can you do to start working on the area that needs work?” Even though this lesson was for youth, I am convicted by it!
I would definitely say that my weakness is CONSISTENTLY working hard to honor God. Jimmy asked the question, “what keeps you from working hard?” Oh man, I could write a book on this! Regardless of the task I have horrific perfectionistic tendencies. Fear of embarrassment, failure and wanting things to be “just so” runs deep in my life. I can be fearful and anxious that I will run out of energy or that I will get interrupted. The worst and I mean the WORST is when I start getting frustrated because I do not know how to do something or I do not know what to do or feel I am going to fail/let someone down. My response is that I get really, really quick tempered and edgy. Then comes the abyss of self-defeating questions like: “what purpose does this serve?” or “does it even matter?” or “what value is this to anyone?”
I know, that I know, that I know that God’s purpose for His people is to bring Him glory. Yet, I can focus on everything else but that. I am thankful that God calls His people to rest in Him. We are not to work so hard that we burn out; however, we are not to be sluggish, lazy and procrastinating either (Prov 10:4-5).
While I am not a big fan of ants [Lancaster County, PA is home to a variety of ants and I don’t know anyone in this town who has not had to deal with ants in their place at some point in time] Jimmy made a good point, “ants don’t need micromanagers, they are always patrolling [and] ants learn how to go around obstacles.” When I am in one of my freakout modes, Nathan’s form of encouragement is telling me to “adapt and overcome.” Instead of being highly annoyed by this “encouragment” I am going to focus on being like an ant!
Regardless of what our work is, integrity and just scales matter. God cares about the character of the worker just as much as He cares about how the work is performed. It never ceases to amaze me how much God cares about our character AND conduct. If there is one thing that I hope will be said about me someday is that I worked honestly. That I lived an honest, transparent and authentic life. I do NOT ever want anyone to read this blog and think that I have it all together. I am a sinner saved by grace and each day I realize more and more how amazing and sweet His grace is.
Lord God, I do not know what work looks like in the life of this reader, but I do know that You have work for them regardless of physical, mental and emotional abilities. Lord God, as this world spirals more and more out of control may Your people seek to honor You even more with their work. You created us to bring You glory and the devil has wanted Your glory since his fall. Lord God, help our minds, hearts and hands give glory, honor and praise to You for all that You have done for us. Amen.