This article was last updated on the 2nd of May, 2015 by Patrick Carpen.
We’ve heard leaders of the great USA boast that their sweat, blood and tears is what enriched the soil and made America the great nation that it is today. But is it really that great? And what really is freedom? And we’ve heard the republican on television when she said that “all we need are our two hands, big dreams and some really really hard work”. I’m not saying she’s entirely wrong. But I’m not saying she is entirely right either. There is a tinge of truth in all of these notions. But just that, a “tinge”.
We’ve all heard the good old saying “you can have anything you want in life, as long as you work for it”. But how true are such sayings? After all, they rule God completely out of the equation, rendering man an absolute force to be reckoned with. But is this really so?
My aunt from Canada would say to us “everything comes by hard work” and she’s not alone in this belief: her husband, and a great percentage of the world population, believe the same thing.
In the book of Psalms however, David writes, “if God does not build the city, the builders buildeth in vain”. And “if God does not watch over the city, the watchman keepeth awake in vain”.
We as christians do not downplay the importance of hard work and perseverance in our lives. In fact, it is very avenue to success and prosperity, a healthy body and a sound mind. But we also acknowledge that without the grace, blessings and mercies of God, we would have neither the tools, circumstances, knoweldge, wisdom or opportunity to work hard and live a meaningful, powerfilled life.
Drawing a sharp contrast to the worldly saying “everything comes through hard work” Christians believe that “everything comes from the hand of God”. And God signified this to His chosen people, while Moses was leading them out of the hands of Pharaoh. Just as God threw manna from heaven to His people in a fruitless land, so God also feeds, clothes and shelters His servants on earth today, forever, and since time began.
In fact, God promises us more riches than King Solomon in all his glory. He says “look at the grass of the field…King Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of those.” And you my friend, are much more valuable to God than the grass that tomorrow will be cut away.
In the book of Proverbs, we’re admonished to “trust in God with all our strength and not our own understanding”.
There are some people who work even on Sundays and holidays, hoping to get richer or to gain an extra dollar. But the bible admonishes us “do not labor to become rich, cease for your own understanding…for riches make themselves wings and fly away towards heaven”.
Riches make themselves wings and fly away where? Towards heaven…right into the hand of God. And God has the power to dispense this wealth wheresoever and to whomsoever He pleases. As David says in the book of Psalms “it is senseless to rise up early, stay up late and eat the bread of sorrow, for so God gives sleep to His beloved”. And furthermore that “in the hand of God there is a cup, and the wicked will drink the dregs thereof”.
In the above verse, we are warned that if we do not purify our hearts and live by God’s commandments, no amount of hard work will make us rich or happy. As it says “the wicked will drink of the dregs from the hand of God”.
Indeed, the bible does command us to work hard…to “do with all our heart and soul and might what our hands find to do”…and furthermore that we “do not slumber…least our poverty comes down upon us and our want as an armed man”. But such commands do not come without the underlying understanding that we should trust in God for the strength, guidance and wisdom to uphold these commandments, and the silent understanding that we should acknowledge God as the only One who can empower us to take this path.
Everyday, millions of people around the world literally work themselves to death. And not just that, they deprive themselves of a good life, valuable time spent with family and loved ones, not to mention their precious health, because they have been misled by the idea that we must “work more if we want more.”
This simply isn’t the case. And while God calls us to be diligent workers, prepared for every good work, He simultaneously calls us to “get wisdom, and with all our getting, get understanding”.
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