“In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” Proverbs 14:23
Labouring for loved ones, and striving for achievement bring a certain dignity to life and a sense of deep satisfaction. Proverbs 24:27-32 has something to say about labouring. We should underscore certain things from the passage: they are field, vineyard, thorns, and walls. Your field may be your home, and your vineyard the children that grow there. Your field may be your ministry and the vineyard the audience that God sends to you. Unless you combine work with prayer, “thorns and nettles” – devouring and destructive elements will cover your abode, and the walls (protection) will crumble.
Tender plants require careful attention. Thorns and weeds grow without cultivation or irrigation. A vineyard requires diligent care. While the caretaker sleeps, the elements of nature – wind, water, weeds – do their work. The stonewall in the spiritual realm could refer to the commands of God. If they are obeyed, they keep out the destructive elements of life. If disobeyed, the protective walls crumble and destructive forces rush into our lives. So, while we grumble and complain about our busy lives, let us remember we are participating in life, not just looking on.
How difficult it is to do your work well if you think it is of no importance! For instance, how can washing dishes everyday really be important? Well, try leaving them stacked in the sink for a week and see how essential that daily chore is! It is much easier to do a job right than to explain why you did it wrong, or not do it at all.
A boy told his grandmother, “I have asked for money, begged for money, cried for money.” She asked, “Have you thought of working for it?” It is easier to use the lips than hands. Jesus, our perfect example, was not ashamed of working with His hands. The apostle Paul made tents. With the Lord, all honest work is honourable, and all dishonest work, dishonourable.
Can one be “busy” yet not truly working? Oh! Don’t be like a wealthy king who was drenched in laborious idleness. At a great cost and servant labour, built an ice palace from slabs of ice from the lake. Dressed in furs and jewels, he sat in splendour during the springtime, and into summer when the palatial melted and dissolved into slushy mud. What a waste of money and hard work!
Again, to be lazy in your work is compared to “him that is a great waster” (Proverbs 18:9). The real dignity of work is found in attitude to the work. A willing heart brightens the work, and gives all tasks, humble and great, the dignity and power required for success. Another way is to say, “Enjoy the job and it will appear easy and be quickly completed!”
To your greater achievement in your endeavours