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January 17 – Proverbs on work

“Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.” – Proverbs 22:29

 Scripture reading: Proverbs 10:1-4

The generation after WWII was known for overworking as they tried to rebuild western society. Because of overworking, their lives became unbalanced. Wives, children, church and society suffered in other ways, even while economic success rose.

Many of the present generation have moved in the other direction – to laziness. Some now are advocating for a three-and-a-half-day work week, with some companies in Europe already having a four-day work week. The lazy often then demand that others supply their needs. An example is Ontario, which recently tried a program to give “guaranteed income” whether one worked or not. But the lazy one has no purpose in life and becomes unbalanced and unhealthy.

Consider some warnings from Solomon who worked too much and ignored his own soul and his children. First, you are commanded to work, work hard enough that you have enough for yourself and extra to share with the poor. But don’t work so much so that you don’t have time for your wife, children, church and society. Second, guard your hearts against laziness. You are not entitled to other people’s labors. Both overworking and laziness are dangerous to the individual, the family, church and state.

To be balanced in life, let Christ govern your entire life. Work hard and honestly. As Proverbs 20:13 teaches us: “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.” Then share with others. And don’t be lazy. Remember, “Six days you shall labor.”

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you will get and keep a good job and that you will share what God has given to you. Also that you will teach by words and example the blessings of good work and the dangers of overwork.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed.


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