Summary: When we do our best, we will enjoy God’s best.
Last week we studied Ecclesiastes 9:10. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”. We saw what is required of us. We are to do our best with what we can while we can. Now, as we continue our “Hands
On!” series, we will see what our reward is when we do with all our might whatever our hand finds to do.
When people tell us to do our best, we tend to think that we will do our best when and only when our pay is high, when the company is great or when we like our job. But, until that time comes, we just try to get by. We take it easy. We just put in enough work to keep us from getting fired but not so much to make us tired. We see it as our way of fighting back. We think it is just right because our pay is chicken feed, our company sucks and our job is boring.
Yet, today we will look at Proverbs 12:24, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” Again we printed for you the verse. So, let’s memorize it together. Repeat after me, “Diligent hands will rule”. [Audience: “Diligent hands will rule”.] “…but laziness ends in slave labor.” [Audience: “but laziness ends in slave labor.”] Let’s recite it again. [Audience recites the verse.] Together! “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” This morning, we will see that when we do our best, we will ENJOY God’s BEST. Let us commit our time to the Lord…
Our verse tells us the diligent rules. With the conjunction “but,” the words “Diligent hands” are set against “laziness”. That’s why the New Living Translation goes like this: “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.” In other words, work hard and you will be promoted. Be lazy and you will be demoted or, worst, you will be fired. You will be out of work. I could almost hear some of you say, “Yeah, right! You don’t know my situation at work. I have been working like a dog but I am still where I started and I could see no promotion at all.” This could even be the reason why we feel lazy doing our job or even going to work. You just can’t motivate or make yourselves work hard. If that is your situation right now, please listen to me first.
Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that King Solomon wrote and compiled. He was the ultimate wise guy. In his book, “Making Life Work,” Bill Hybels clarified that “Proverbs was not written as a book of promises or rigid rules about life.” For example, Proverbs 22:6 tell us, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” But we know of people who grew up in Sunday school or in a Christian school yet now they no longer attend church. One graduate of a Christian high school told us about her shock when she met with former classmates. They tried to pressure her to drink liquor and smoke cigarettes. Cuss words came out of their lips. They even mocked her when she tried to invite them back to church. It is really “parang nakawala sa kural.” We know that there are times parents who did their best to discipline their children end up with those who rebel. Does that mean that Proverbs 22:6 is not true? No, still it holds true. Proverbs do not guarantee that our children will continue in the Lord when we discipline them. But it is almost guaranteed that they will turn their back from Him when we fail to train them. Hybels explained that “Proverbs simply tells how life works most of the time. You can worry about the exceptions after you have learned the rule. Try to live by the exceptions, and you court disaster.” Yes, there is no guarantee that we will be successful when we work hard. But it is almost guaranteed that we will not be successful when we are lazy.
In a sense, it is a calculated risk. We may do our best and still face the risk that our boss could not see or appreciate our best effort. Our co-workers may not even like what we are doing. They may even end up seeing us as a competition to their promotion. I know of a salesperson that did his best. But his immediate superior saw him more as a threat. The boss was his friend. But he got into the company on his own merits. Yet, the sales manager thought the boss was attempting to replace him. The manager got intimidated. Thus, he decided to put down every sale that the salesperson had. He always found fault in everything he did. He scolded him almost every day. He bullied him. That discouraged the salesperson. Sadly, his sales went down. So, the manager grabbed the chance to fire him. Things like that can and will happen. It is really a risk. We work hard, we pay the right taxes, we treat our employees well, we give the right wages and perks, we even hold Bible studies for them, yet still our company is on the brink of going bankrupt because of the global financial crisis. But still it is a risk worth taking. Because still it holds true, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.”