Summary: How Proverbs teaches us about good working skills
Proverbs: A Godly Work Ethic
Intro: This morning, I warn you, I will be speaking very frankly. In fact, I’m going to use a four letter word that some of you might not like: WORK! It seems that no matter who we are, we don’t appreciate the value of work. Someone once said, “Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.” We find it very easy as humans to do that which comes easiest to us. But in the end, what is easiest is not always best.
An ancient Chinese proverb says, “If you wish to be happy for one hour, get intoxicated. If you wish to be happy for three days, get married. If you wish to be happy for eight days, kill your pig and eat it. If you wish to be happy forever, learn to fish.
We live in a society that has mixed views on work. On the one hand, we have a nation of workaholics. People working 60, 70, 80 hours a week out of a driving compulsion to “get ahead.” People who get in to work early, stay late, and bring their work home with them. One father kept bringing his work home with him and his 1st grade son asked him why. Daddy explained that he couldn’t finish it all during the day. The boy thought for a moment and asked, “Then why don’t they just put you in a slower group?”
On the other hand, we have a nation that worships pleasure and entertainment. We work our jobs only to get a paycheck. We live from the time we punch out till the time we punch back in again. Work is only an evil necessity that allows us to do the things we really want to do.
We want to look this morning at what God’s word has to say about work. Especially what the book of Proverbs has to tell us. But before we get to Proverbs, let’s start in the beginning in the book of Genesis.
The first thing we see about work is that God works. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. Work is not evil. In fact, when God created Adam, he put him to work. Gen 2:15 - The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Adam was put to work naming the animals. Yet, that work was a joy and a pleasure. We don’t see Adam saying, “God, why don’t you just name them yourself, I’m tired.” Or “I’ve been naming animals all morning, when do I get to take my break?”
Yet, when Adam and Eve fell and ate of the forbidden fruit, we see that work was part of the curse. Gen 3:17 - To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,’ "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." And ever since, we have viewed work as a curse.
God chooses to have us work to provide for our needs. Before the fall, Adam had only to reach up and pick his food. But since, we have had to work for our food. We often get into trouble when we try to bypass God’s plans. That’s often what we try to do with work. We think Work is a curse, so we try to do anything we can to avoid working. Do you know anyone like that? Let’s look at some of the ungodly ideas about work.
I. Wrong Views of Work
A. Laziness - This is one of the most prevalent attitudes in our society.
I’ll be the first to admit, I often feel lazy. I like to procrastinate. I like to relax. We all do, I think. But that doesn’t make it right. Proverbs has a lot to say about laziness. Let’s look at some of the verses.
*Laziness brings poverty & scarcity - 6:6-11 - Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.