Planning is important. The Bible tells us that before we start building something, we would certainly want to count the cost (Luke 14:28). Even so, planning is not everything. If you can only think up great ideas, but can never see them to completion, what good comes from the ideas?
In Proverbs, we read that good planning and hard work lead to prosperity. This means before we set out to do something, we should plan it out and use good discernment. When we have our game plan in place, then we should work hard to see it through. If we live this out, we will be prosperous.
Today, consider how you can be a better planner or how you can best follow through. Ask God to reveal any shortcuts you are attempting to take in life. Thank God for the opportunities He has provided to plan and work to glorify Him in everything.
“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5 [NLT]
We all have different images that come to mind when we hear the phrase “tragedy.” In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote that “a great tragedy” was that people who would “work wisely with knowledge and skill” would end up leaving the fruits of their labor to someone else, “someone who hasn’t worked for it.” Imagine your job. You invest your whole life excelling and doing great things for your area of business. Then one day, all the reward for that hard work goes to someone else who was not around for all those late nights you put in at the office. Imagine working hard since you were of age to work, but then having it all taken from you to get a bed at the county nursing home. To many people, these examples are to them “a great tragedy.”
What we need to always remember is that we are only here temporarily. We are not here building a huge dynasty for ourselves, but rather, we are here to fulfill the purpose our Lord has planned for our lives. We each have a purpose—we each are significant and have a great contribution to make to the world. It is a great tragedy to work so hard and for it to seem meaningless. But it’s a greater tragedy when we do not know our true purpose in life—when we do not have a relationship with Christ.
We have a choice. We can work hard to have this “great tragedy” or we can work hard serving the Lord with joy. We can work hard to build up something here on earth or we can work hard so that God gets the glory He alone deserves. We will all face this great tragedy and it is a great tragedy—but we will receive something so much better than anything we could have here on earth. Let us continue to serve the Lord with joy, awaiting this beautiful, “great tragedy.”
“Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.” – Ecclesiastes 2:21 [NLT]
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”
– Daniel 1:17 [NIV]
Today’s verse says that God gave Daniel and his friends the knowledge and understanding. Now in this passage, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are all supposed to eat what the king has commanded. It was from the king’s table so one would believe it to be good—fit for a king. However, Daniel “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine,” and he asked if he could eat his own diet of food (v. 8). The official agreed to let Daniel and his friends eat what they wanted for ten days. After the ten days, they were “healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (v. 15). This could cause some people to have problems digesting.
So often we look at Daniel and his friends going against the king’s rules and following a special diet of vegetables and water. We conclude that these vegetables and the water provided the four young men with better nourishment, as the passage states, and that is what we take from this passage. However, we cannot forget that it was God who gave these men the knowledge and understanding. God was and is at the forefront.
There are times in our own lives when we use our God given gifts and resources and find great success. We start to attribute this success to our hard work, our talents, etc., but we need already remember that God gave us everything—God gets the glory.
Today remind yourself of what God has given you and take the time to thank Him.
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” – Colossians 3:23 [HCSB]
As I was doing my grocery shopping, I walked pass a young man stocking shelves. One of his co-workers passed by and asked, “You’re still doing that?” The response of the young man was one I’ve heard time and time again—“I’m here for eight hours either way.”
Yes, he will be there for eight hours. He will get paid the same no matter how much effort he puts forth with stocking the shelves. But this thought that it does not matter—that I do not need put forth a good effort—is something very negative and it greatly impacts our society.
We are told to do everything as if it was for the Lord. Today look at the effort you put forth, the attitude you have at your workplace, in your home, at church, in your relationship with God, etc. Do you give God your best effort or are you going through the motions till the time is up? Does it really matter? How would an onlooker see you stocking shelves—with joy serving the Lord or just passing time?